This paper presents the latest analysis by the Scottish Government of the implications for Scotland’s economy if the UK exits the European Union. Our conclusions are stark: Brexit will significantly weaken our economy and result in slower economic growth and lower incomes than otherwise.
A Brexit which results in the UK being outside the European Single Market and Customs Union will have the most damaging consequences for Scotland.
The Scottish Government believes Scotland’s future is best served by continued EU membership, in line with the wishes of the Scottish people as expressed in the referendum in 2016.
However, if Brexit proves to be inevitable, Scotland's interests are best protected by the UK remaining inside the European Single Market and Customs Union.
This paper demonstrates the benefits Single Market
membership has delivered and could deliver in future, and also sets out in detail the adverse economic consequences of a hard Brexit, which will undermine Scotland’s economic prospects by creating significant impediments to trade in goods and – in particular – services. Leaving the Single Market will also compromise the vast range of common economic, social, consumer, and environmental standards that we have become accustomed to as a member of the EU.
This is not acceptable to the Scottish Government nor, we believe, to the people of Scotland.
As the UK Government embarks on what will be
the most crucial set of international negotiations of recent years, it is essential that it is the economic and social interests of the country that shape our future relationship with the EU and not narrow and transient political considerations. It is also essential that the UK negotiating position fully reflects the interests of all parts of the UK. To this end we take this opportunity to restate our position that the Scottish Government – along with the other devolved administrations – must be fully engaged in these negotiations at every stage.
It is clear there is an emerging and broadly based consensus in the country at large to minimize the adverse impact of Brexit on growth and jobs. This can only be achieved by prioritising our continued membership of the European Single Market and Customs Union.
In the coming weeks the Scottish Government will publish a series of detailed papers on a range of policy issues that will demonstrate the full consequences for Scotland’s economy and society if, instead, the UK Government pursues a hard Brexit. In that event the Scottish Government will actively pursue an alternative future for our relationship with the EU.