Leaving will have 'profound impact'

Scotland facing £15bn shortfall after EU exit

Nicola Sturgeon First MinisterQuitting the European Union will have a ‘profound impact’ on Scotland if the UK fails to negotiate a deal to protect its connections with the trading bloc, according to new research published today.

The Brexit vote is likely to cost Scottish economy up to £11.2 billion a year and Scottish public finances up to £3.7bn.

Analysis published by the Scottish Government, drawing on research by a range of external organisations, suggests that by 2030, Scottish GDP is projected to be between £1.7bn and £11.2bn per year lower than it would have been without the referendum outcome.

Tax revenue is projected to be between £1.7bn and £3.7bn lower.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the analysis was further evidence of the need to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU.

She says the research shows that pursing an option short of full EU membership risks damaging Scottish exports, makes the country a less attractive location for overseas investors and reduces future economic growth and prosperity.

The paper is the first in a series the Scottish Government will publish on the potential impact on Scotland of the UK leaving the European Union.

The First Minister, who  announced a new Scottish government minister on Brexit to lobby UK government, said: “This paper shows, in the starkest possible terms, the potentially huge cost to Scotland of being taken out of the European Union and the single market.

“This analysis – based on a wide range of sources – demonstrates that leaving the EU, under any potential alternative arrangement, will have a profound and long-lasting impact on the public finances and the wider economic and societal wellbeing of both Scotland and the UK as a whole.

“That stark picture outlined today means that, whatever the model of relationship with the EU which is chosen by the UK Government in their negotiations before and after Article 50 is triggered, it will not be as economically beneficial as full EU membership.

“The only way to protect Scotland’s economy – and the clear benefits which come from being part of the world’s biggest single market – is to work to ensure we protect our relationship with the EU.

“My government is absolutely committed to pursuing every possible avenue and option to do that.

“I have already had useful talks with the new Prime Minister, the EU institutions and individual member states in order to pursue that objective, and these are discussions which will continue in the weeks and months ahead.

“It is simply unacceptable that Scotland faces the prospect risk being dragged out of the EU against its will, and today’s paper shows the possibly massive costs that would entail, with all the wider repercussions that would be likely to ensue in terms of jobs, investment and long-term prosperity.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson urged the Scottish government to focus on stabilising the country in the wake of the Brexit vote. She said it needed to focus on stability and “get back to the day job”.

A UK Government spokesman said the Scottish government is adding to the uncertainty by its talk of a second independence referendum.

He said: “Because of the decisions the UK Government has taken, the fundamentals of the British economy are strong. 

“The Scottish Government’s own analysis acknowledges the huge degree of uncertainty around predicting economic impacts as far into the future as 2030. Its estimates vary wildly.

“The analysis warns of short term economic uncertainty. But, as the Secretary of State for Scotland has said recently, the real uncertainty for Scotland’s economy is being caused by Nicola Sturgeon’s talk of a second independence referendum.

“Rather than open itself to accusations of scaremongering and of damaging the Scottish economy, the Scottish Government’s priority should be to work closely with the UK Government to ensure the best deal for Scotland and the whole of the UK as we prepare to leave the EU.”

Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Two months to the day since the EU referendum the SNP has finally highlighted the economic risks to Scotland of the UK leaving the EU. Serious questions need to be asked why this analysis was not produced well in advance of polling day.

“The first minister’s decision to announce a minister for Brexit and a new sub-committee of ministers is welcome and follows Labour’s calls for a specialist unit to be set up within the Scottish government itself.”

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