INDEPENDENCE could bring Scotland a £5 billion boost to its tax revenues through trade.

Matching the export levels of similar independent countries would bring in extra cash to support our public services, the SNP say.

It comes after analysis published by the House of Commons Library last week found that the UK had a trade deficit of £31bn in 2018.

The looming threat of a Boris Johnson no-deal Brexit risks the UK’s position becoming even weaker.

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However, the Sustainable Growth Commission’s findings, published last year, found Scotland could generate £5bn in tax revenues through closing the export gap with other small advanced economies.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said the UK was holding Scotland back.

He continued: “The UK performs poorly as an exporter and Brexit will make that worse.

“It is pure fantasy to think that we can replace our EU membership with free-trade deals – which can take years, even decades, to negotiate – and end up better off.

“The abject humiliation of allowing Donald Trump to dictate the UK’s diplomatic staff shows that the UK’s negotiating position has never been weaker.

“Any trade deal negotiated between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump would be bad news for Scotland.

“In contrast, if an independent Scotland was to match the export levels of comparable independent countries we’d raise an additional £5bn a year to support our public services.

“Faced with the prospect of a devastating no-deal Brexit, we need the full powers to meet Scotland’s potential – and that only comes with independence.”

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The Growth Commission examined ways in which an independent Scotland could emulate the world’s 12 best small advanced economies.

It found: “Increasing overseas exports from 20% of GDP to 40% of GDP would be a reasonable target to set in order to close the export gap with small advanced economy benchmark countries, implying an increase from under £30bn to more than £60bn.

“This could deliver a productivity boost of 8% of GDP and would be expected to generate additional taxation revenues of some £5bn each year.”

The report concluded that closing the growth gap and reaching the median GDP per head of those 12 countries would be worth additional economic output equivalent to an extra £4100 per person in Scotland.