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Hard Brexit 'would cost Scots £12.7bn'

Scotland’s economy could be £12.7bn a year worse off under a so-called hard Brexit, according to analysis by the Scottish government. The figure is contained in a paper on the impact of UK withdrawal from the European Union, to be published later.It calculates the cost to Scotland of the UK leaving the single market with or without a trade deal.The UK government insists it is seeking a Brexit deal that will work for the whole of the UK.The Scottish government document, titled Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment, considers three potential outcomes for Scotland’s economy when Britain exits the EU in March 2019.They include the impact of Scotland remaining within the single market and customs union, or the UK securing a free trade agreement.The final scenario considered is the impact on Scotland’s GDP figures if trade with the EU reverts to so-called WTO (World Trade Organisation) terms.

That would involve the UK accepting tariffs on goods imported from or exported to the single market.The Scottish government concludes that if the UK was to pursue a WTO relationship, the cost to Scotland would be about 8.5% of GDP.That would be equivalent to £12.7bn a year by the year 2030, compared to current full EU membership, their analysis found.’Least damaging option’The paper says that would equate to a loss of about £2,300 per year for each person in Scotland.It claims that even if the UK were to remain in the single market and customs union, and even if the UK government’s preferred option of securing a free trade deal were to be realised, there would still be a cost to the Scottish economy compared with remaining in the EU.Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme on Sunday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It’s looking in a clear-eyed, hard-headed way at what the impact on our economy will be.”She added: “This is modelling done by Scottish government economists. “It is an economic model and what it says is that by far the best option for the Scottish economy is to stay in the EU, but short of that the least damaging option is staying in the single market.”A UK government spokeswoman said: “We are seeking a deal that works for the whole of the UK, that delivers on the result of the EU referendum.”Rather than trying to undermine the result of a democratic referendum, we urge the Scottish government to work with us to ensure, as we leave the EU, we protect the UK’s vital internal market.”Scotland trades four times as much with the rest of the UK as it does with the EU, so it is vital that we ensure that market continues unimpeded.”
Source: BBC News

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