YOUR correspondent Alan Watt (Letters, January 17) is quite right to ask whether a calculation has been made regarding the cost to Scotland of leaving the UK Single Market. After all, if the choice which the SNP believes we must make is between the EU and the UK, we need to know what both decisions would entail. If the cost of leaving the EU could be £12.7 billion per annum, this should be scaled up in line with the fact that about 60 per cent of Scotland’s exports go to the rest of the UK while about 15 per cent of exports go to the rest of the EU. Working on this ratio of 4:1, the result is an estimate that the cost could be as high as £50 billion per annum.
One of the key weaknesses of the Scottish Government’s new report is that it does not factor in potential benefits from Brexit – such as removal of or reduction in tariffs on Scotch whisky in the massive markets of China and India – which could reduce the negative impacts. The same applies to any estimate of the cost of leaving the UK. Therefore none of these figures can be taken to be gospel.
We must all also hope that the worst-case scenarios of a hard Brexit or no-deal Brexit are avoided. However, there can be no doubt at all that to leave the UK would be far more costly to Scotland than the UK leaving the EU.
Peter A Russell