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Scotland 'will lose £9bn'

UK exports suffer huge slump since Brexit vote

Scotland’s GDP will slump because of the EU split, says SNP

The UK is the only country in north west Europe to suffer from declining exports since the Brexit vote in 2016, according to new research.

The House of Commons Library analysis, using IMF data, shows that every neighbouring European country has increased its exports over the past five years except for the UK.

The SNP leapt on the figures to argue that it proved how Boris Johnson had been wrong to claim Brexit would boost trade. The nationalists claimed that it will wipe £9 billion from Scotland’s GDP by £9 billion.

The Commons data shows the UK saw a decline in exports of -5.5% over five years, putting it behind 13 neighbouring countries: Ireland (+48.1%), Finland (+18.8%), Sweden (+15.5%), the Netherlands (+15%), Denmark (+14%), Luxembourg (+13.6%), Austria (+11.1%), Germany (+9.5%), Switzerland (+7.5%), France (+6.7%), Belgium (+6.2%), Norway (+4.8%) and Iceland (+0.8%).

On average, independent countries of Scotland’s size or smaller recorded the biggest increase in exports since 2016 at +16.7%, compared to an average increase of +11.9% for all countries in north west Europe.


When the impact of Covid-19 is taken into account, and figures compared from 2020 to date, the UK still has the worst decline in exports of any country in north west Europe at -19.3%.

The analysis also reveals that in the first four months after joining the EEC, the total value of UK goods exports increased by +16% compared to the first four months of 1972. In stark contrast, in the first four months of 2021 following Brexit, the total value of UK goods exports fell by -11% compared to the first four months of 2020.

In a statement, SNP Shadow Trade Secretary Drew Hendry said: “Far from boosting trade, as we were promised by Boris Johnson, Brexit has seen the UK’s exports decrease and its trade balance slump to the worst in north west Europe.

“Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit but it has already cost our country billions of pounds in damage – and analysis shows it will continue to hit our economy, cutting Scotland’s GDP by up to £9billion by 2030 compared to EU membership.

“Scotland deserves better than this. Three of the top five countries who have kept up a positive trade balance since the EU referendum, and the top three since the coronavirus outbreak, are similar in size or smaller than Scotland. This is an insight into just what Scotland could do and be if we had the full powers of independence.”

However, critics say the Commons figures largely cover a period when the UK was still part of the bloc and that the SNP provided no analysis to show that a separate Scotland would have reversed the trend during this period.

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