The Brexit vote, 5 years on - what do we know so far?

This note summarises the evidence so far of the impacts on Brexit on Scotland. It sets out early evidence related to areas such as trade, the workforce and EU programmes.


1. Born, B., Müller, G.J., Schularick, M. and Sedláček, P., 2019. The costs of economic nationalism: evidence from the Brexit experiment. The Economic Journal, 129(623), pp.2722-2744.

2. The cost of Brexit to June 2019 | Centre for European Reform (

3. Bad Brexit deal for Scotland - (

4. Brexit transition - ( Extend Brexit transition during COVID-19 crisis - (

5. All trade comparisons are sourced from HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics (OTS) which provides detailed UK trade in goods information. This is the preferred source as it allows for comparison at commodity level, which is unavailable in ONS statistics. Trade in gold has been excluded from the figures and calculations. Some of the quoted figures differ from those also published by ONS. Although the ONS use the same HMRC data source, they make adjustments to account for seasonality and to ensure consistency with a Balance of Payments (BoP) basis. However we use the HMRC OTS data as it provides the necessary detail to assess performance of some of the key commodities for Scotland's exports.

6. Monthly trade figures were relatively more volatile in 2019 than in 2018 due to the stockpiling activity associated with the EU exit deadlines in March and October 2019. Monthly figures in 2020 were skewed by the impact of the pandemic. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also compare 2021 trade data with equivalent 2018 data for the same reasons.

7. BICS weighted Scotland estimates: data to wave 31 - (

8. Coronavirus (COVID-19): the case for extending the Brexit transition period - (

9. UK trade - Office for National Statistics ( referring to reports from the Scottish Seafood Association: Scottish seafood exports 'held up by post-Brexit rules' - BBC News and Scottish seafood exports to EU delayed for further five days - BBC News

10. Food and drink - (

11. Economy statistics - (

12. Exclusive: 'It's a catastrophe': Scottish fishermen halt exports due to Brexit red tape | Reuters

13. Over half (approx. £435 million) of all Scottish fish and seafood exports bound for the EU go to France. Much of the remaining exports go to Spain (£91 million), Italy (£56 million), the Irish Republic (£46 million) and Germany (£39 million). In 2019, seafood accounted for 57% of Scotland's overall food exports and had a total value of £1.02 bn.

14. Letter to medicines and medical products suppliers: 30 March 2021 - GOV.UK (

15. As well as Scotland's place in Europe: people, jobs and investment - (

16. Publication (

17. Overview of the UK population - Office for National Statistics (

18. Population by Country of Birth and Nationality, Scotland, July 2019 to June 2020 | National Records of Scotland (

19. National Insurance numbers allocated to adult overseas nationals to March 2021 - GOV.UK (

20. UK immigration policy after leaving the EU: impacts on Scotland's economy, population and society - July 2020 update - (

21. BICS weighted Scotland estimates: data to wave 31 - (

22. International Jobseeker Interest in Britain is Changing After Brexit - Indeed Hiring Lab UK I Ireland

23. Vacancies and jobs in the UK - Office for National Statistics (

24. Hospitality 'struggling to fill thousands of jobs' - BBC News

25. The Fruits of Their Labour: Seasonal Farm Workers in Scottish Agriculture | SEFARI

26. NFU Scotland's Seasonal Workers Survey Identifies Labour Shortage Fears

27. Scottish Agricultural Census: final results - June 2020 - (

28. The EU Settlement Scheme | UK in a changing Europe (

29. Home Office EU Settlement Scheme statistics: user guide - GOV.UK (

30. HE Student Data | HESA

31. eCORDA, accessed in 2020

32. Picking Up the Broken Pieces of UK Foreign Policy | Chatham House – International Affairs Think Tank

33. Michel Barnier tells Boris Johnson to 'respect his signature' on Brexit deal and warns UK reputation could be damaged | The Independent


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