Brexit continues to deal blow after blow to the Scottish economy as trade slumps after we were forced to leave the European single market.
New figures published by HM Revenue and Customs reveal that in the quarter ending in June 2021 Scottish exports decreased by 14% compared to the same period the previous year.
Scotland is again suffering more serious effects than the rest of the UK, adding to the undeniable evidence that the country was right to reject Brexit
Scotland is again suffering more serious effects than the rest of the UK, adding to the undeniable evidence that the country was right to reject Brexit in the EU referendum of 2016. England, Wales and Northern Ireland saw declines in exports of 2.2%, 13% and 6.1% in the same period.
Scotland’s imports also fell by 3.9% in comparison to June 2020 – with England’s imports decreasing by 2.3%, and Wales’ imports by 10%. Northern Ireland’s rose by 3.8%.
Scotland’s shadow international trade secretary Drew Hendry said the figures showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘’catastrophic economic vandalism’’ on Scotland’s trade.
He said: “These are devastating figures which clearly show that the warnings about Brexit and the impact it would have on trade were justified – warnings that Boris Johnson and his band of Brexiteers continue to ignore at the expense of people and businesses across all sectors and all parts of Scotland.’’
Figures released earlier this year showed Scottish exports of shellfish and fish had slumped by 83%, beef exports by 91.5%, cheese by 85% and pork by 87%.
All these reductions are a direct consequence of the trade deal negotiated by the British government.
The total overall value of UK exports decreased by £11bn (3.5%) in the year ending June 2021 compared with the same period the previous year.
The HM Revenue and Customs figures also showed that over the past three years Scottish exports had fallen from a high of around £4.8 billion to £3.2bn in the second quarter of this year.
According to the Scottish Government, Scotland exported goods worth a total of £16.1bn to the EU in 2018. Food, drinks and tobacco products accounted for £2.2bn, petrol and chemical goods made up £3.3bn while computer and optical products added up to £1.1 billion.
The services sector, professional, scientific and technical activities made up £1.1bn of exports, retail trade £1.2bn, financial and insurance activities £830 million and education £290m.
Brexit also played a significant role in Scottish firms raising prices last month at the sharpest rate since at least 1999 in the face of severe inflationary pressures.
The latest Royal Bank of Scotland PMI survey suggested companies were having to pass on the rising costs of materials, pay, logistics, the pandemic and Brexit. RBS said firms raised their average charges “to a degree unseen” since its survey began 22 years ago.
The situation could get even worse as the UK heads with a trade war with Europe over the Northern Ireland protocol
Recent Brexit-induced catastrophes have included British supermarket shelves left empty as a result of lorry driver shortages because EU nationals had to return home, petrol shortages at garages and fears that Christmas deliveries will be hit.
The situation could get even worse as the UK heads with a trade war with Europe over the Northern Ireland protocol. Reports suggest that EU proposals to resolve the dispute will be rejected as insufficient by UK Brexit minister David Frost.
He wants ‘’significant’’ changes to the post-Brexit agreement he himself negotiated and without them he warns the protocol will not survive.
Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, reacted with incredulity at the UK’s new “red line” and its timing just days before what he said was a “serious” offer from the EU.
He tweeted: “EU working seriously to resolve practical issues with implementation of Protocol – so UKG creates a new “red line” barrier to progress, that they know EU can’t move on … are we surprised? Real Q: does UKG actually want an agreed way forward or a further breakdown in relations?”