ACCORDING to recent figures, Scotland exports approximately £60 billion of goods and services (including oil) to the rest of the UK compared with a much lower figure of £38.2bn (including oil) internationally.
Therefore, it is evident that any imposition of “barriers to trade” between Scotland and its main trading partner (England) could have serious consequences for the hundreds of thousands of jobs involved, especially those in tourism, the financial sector, defence and manufacturing industries.
For example, a recent analysis by Deloitte claimed 82 per cent of the money spent (£10.9bn) on tourism in Scotland was earned from the UK as a whole.
The large financial sector would also have special problems in an independent Scotland due to reliance of around 90 per cent of sales in mortgages and insurance products south of the Border and exposure to any future financial crisis.
We also have to be aware of the inevitable loss in defence jobs and the disproportionate negative effect on jobs in general given that we would be extremely reliant on the continuing good will of our neighbours’ buying habits in spite of a potentially messy divorce. Consequently, the probability is that the delicate recovery in the UK, which is three times the EU growth rate and even greater than the US, could be put into sharp reversal.
A shrinking economy, with uncertainties on currency, EU membership, higher interest charges (Moody’s “credit implications”) and border controls with new regulations (Alex tax etc) would further exacerbate the situation, causing some Scottish businesses and international companies to think again and withdraw their investments and move south.
One has to wonder how long the bluff and bluster of Alex Salmond and his supporters will hold any credibility going forward, especially as they appear to remain in denial and cry “scaremongering” rather than answer the genuine concerns of the majority of people in Scotland.
Murtle Den Road