Scotland wants clarity on UK’s stand on single market

Edinburgh, Dec 26 (IANS) Scotland’s Economy Secretary has said Britain’s ruling Conservative government should indicate whether it wants the UK to stay in the single market after the historic vote to exit the European Union (EU), a media report said on Monday.

Keith Brown believes it is “untenable” to maintain silence on the issue, the BBC reported.

Brown would like to see assurances given that Scotland’s interests would be at the heart of Brexit negotiations.

He reckoned that coming out of the single market would “severely damage” the economy in Scotland.

The minister explained: “Independent research has estimated the cost of leaving the single market at more than 11 billion pounds ($12 billion) annually which could mean Scotland’s public services revenues would be 3.7 billion pounds per year lower than they are now.”

“The EU is also the main destination market for Scotland’s international exports, accounting for 42 per cent of trade in 2014.”

“More than six months on from the EU referendum, it is completely untenable that the UK government are unable to give even an indicative position on whether it supports remaining in the single market,” Brown added.

Last week, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon argued that it would be “democratically justifiable” for the whole of the UK to remain in the European single market after Brexit, the BBC said.

But she also said it would be possible for Scotland to remain in the free trade bloc even if the rest of the UK left.

The UK government said it was committed to involving each of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but that a special deal for Scotland was unrealistic.

Although the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent, voters in Scotland overwhelmingly backed to remain within the EU by 62 per cent to 38 per cent.

–IANS

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