Nicola Sturgeon appears in SNP election campaign advert
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And author Professor David Blake, speaking in advance of next month’s Holyrood elections, has also said breaking away from the UK in favour of joining the European Union would ultimately leave Scotland isolated on the edge of the continent. The Professor of Economics at City, University of London presents his arguments in Scottish independence – playing by EU rules, a new report published on the Briefings for Britain website, in which he concludes: “The SNP are deluded if they think there will be a smooth transition from being part of the UK to being part of the EU”.
In the report, he argues an independent Scotland would in fact be shackled by EU membership which would result in it surrendering its supposed freedom to Brussels in numerous key areas, from fishing rights, trade in goods and services, and free movement.
In terms of overall cost to Scotland, Prof Blake highlights a study by the London School of Economics this year suggesting Scotland’s economy would shrink by £11billion a year as a result of breaking away from the UK.
In addition, Prof Blake calculates that the loss of fiscal transfers from the rest of the UK would result in an additional net reduction of £15billion.
As a result, going it alone would deliver a £26billion hit to Scotland’s economy, based on the latest Statista figures which put Scotland’s GDP at £168.14billion.
Given the Office for National Statistics (ONS) currently estimates the population of Scotland to be 5,463,300, this adds up to £4,759.03 for every person living north of the border.
Prof Blake told Express.co.uk: “The UK has just experienced a 10 percent reduction in GDP due to Covid. The largest fall in 300 years.
“The UK economy will bounce back from this.
“Scottish independence means a permanent reduction in GDP of 15 percent, which is 50 percent more than Covid. The Scottish economy will never recover from this.”
The SNP’s current proposal is to continue to use the pound informally – an approach commonly referred to as “sterlingisation” – until an independent Scotland joins the EU – and consequently the euro.
However, Prof Blake suggested both would leave Scots worse off.
He said: “Sterlingisation is not independence from the UK.
“Scotland would be accepting UK control of its monetary policy, including its money supply and interest rates.
“Of course, by joining the euro, Scotland also loses control of its monetary policy, including its money supply and interest rates.
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“It hands this over to the European Central Bank. Either way, it’s an odd definition of independence.”
For a start, it was likely to take up to ten years for an independent Scotland to join the EU, Prof Blake predicted.
He added: “In the meantime, if it introduced its own currency, this would fall in value not least because of the size of Scotland’s national debt as an independent nation.
“It would around 200 percent of GDP – similar to Greece.
Additionally, independence could trigger an exodus of companies currently based in Scotland, Prof Blake warned.
He explained: “The currency would be volatile and interest rates would have to increase to stabilise it.
“This would make debt servicing costs even worse and Scottish companies would have to pay higher interest rates to fund their businesses than UK companies.
“Many would move south of the border where the market is bigger and the interest rates are lower.”
The net result of independence would likely be a nation cut off from its neighbours and a long way from the heart of Europe, Prof Blake claimed.
He said: “The EU would insist on a hard border with England to ‘protect the integrity of the single market’. We know this is true because it was their most important concern in Northern Ireland.
“Otherwise England could be used as a base to smuggle cheap imported products into the EU via Scotland. The alternative would be a hard border down the North Sea between Scotland and EU-27. This would negate the key benefit of being in the EU’s single market which is free movement.
“On the other hand, Scotland in Schengen could become a conduit for economic migrants to get to the UK rather than make the dangerous Channel crossing.
“Either way, the border would become a constant source of tension between England, Scotland and EU-27 – and Scotland would end up being more isolated than Northern Ireland.”
Referring to next month’s poll, he added: “These issues need to be brought to the attention of the Scottish people now before it is too late. I am writing more on this.
“Another thing to pick up is the fact that the pro-Union parties are actually in the majority and could win if they agreed to vote tactically. But my understanding is that they refuse to do so (because they hate the Tories).
“It would be tragic if Scottish independence went ahead because of this.”
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