SCOTLAND’s economy has benefited from a range of advantages that few other countries of similar size can match. Our natural wealth is a key foundation stone for a prosperous future as an independent country and it is simply unreasonable to believe that a country as naturally wealthy as Scotland would not thrive if it were to gain the power to manage these resources for Scotland’s benefit.

There is plenty of evidence to back up that claim, not least the fact that we have already utilised our natural resources and combined them with ingenuity to develop the specialist products that are in demand all over the world. So much so that Scotland has become an exporting powerhouse.

We have become very used to being told Scotland is too small to stand on its own feet and needs the support of the larger UK to thrive. We have shown in earlier articles in this series that the opposite is true. In reality, being part of the UK holds our country back from reaching its true economic potential.

Such claims are simply not true, as can be proved by focusing on the huge contributions Scotland makes to the wider UK economy.

Whisky, for instance, was the UK’s largest food and drink export in 2019, worth £4.9 billion, 21% of the UK total value of exports. Scottish seafood exports were worth a massive £1.02m in 2019. And Scotland’s non-EU exports of goods and services have increased by 95% since 2002. Our goods and products are much in demand from Europe and elsewhere in the world but this is yet another example of how being part of the UK is working against our best interests.

Brexit has been imposed on Scotland despite the fact Scots voted against leaving the UK. In less than three months it has proved hugely damaging to Scottish exports to Europe, which have suffered disproportionately.

READ MORE: Would Scotland have to go to the back of the queue to join the EU?

The figures show a grim picture. Scottish exports of food and live animals to the EU were the hardest hit by Brexit, collapsing by 63.6% in January compared to the same month last year. That was much worse than the UK drop of 40.7%.

Office for National Statistics figures reports that Scotland’s largest food export category, fish and shellfish, was down a staggering 83% over the same period. Meat and dairy also suffered with exports plunging 59% and 50% respectively.

Another report, this time by the Scottish Food and Drink Federation was even worse. It showed salmon exports were down by 98%, beef exports dropped by 91.5%, pork by 86.9% and cheese by 84.9% in January compared to the same month in 2020. These terrible results were down to Brexit. If our democratically expressed wish to stay in Europe had been heeded our economy would not have been damaged by these dramatic drops.

Scotland has been more badly affected than other areas of the UK for the simple reason that we export more. If we look back at the pre-Brexit figures for the international exports of goods for all the UK nations produced by HM Revenue and Customs, we see that Scotland is the only UK nation to have exported more goods internationally than it has imported every year since records began. That is literally the opposite of a deficit.

The National:

The value of Scotland’s goods exports per head is more than double those achieved by the rest of the UK. The rest of the UK’s, and especially England’s international trade deficit in goods is massive and with the chaotic aftermath of Brexit, and increased economic instability, it is likely that the UK trade deficit will worsen significantly.

In the past few years Northern Ireland has generated a surplus in goods, but persistently operated a deficit in the past. England and Wales always run persistent deficits in international trade in goods.

Scotland’s international exports in goods and services have risen by 64% since 2002. Scotland’s non-EU exports of goods and services increased by 95% at the same time.

A surplus in international trade in goods is a key strength of Scotland’s economy. It’s strong not just in UK terms but also compared to similar northern European nations. Denmark sets the gold standard in exports, so is clearly a nation that Scotland needs to aspire to match in the medium-to-longer term. However, Denmark does not even come close to having our natural wealth, or as broad-based an economy as Scotland enjoys.

Achieving a greater exporting ratio per head than nations such as Finland and Sweden and being close to Norway is a significant result for Scotland. Becoming independent is the only way to make sure that our exporting success story continues and that the disastrous downturns in our exports to Europe are reversed.

By contrast, Brexit is posing serious threats to even some of the most successful parts of the UK economy. London, for instance, was the largest financial trading centre in Europe until Brexit-related changes to finance rules came into force. Now Amsterdam has overtaken it.

Following new Brexit rules, EU-based banks wanting to buy European shares currently cannot trade via London, meaning a loss of fees for City firms.

A new poll by YouGov this week found that 52% of UK businesses had been disrupted by Brexit. Three quarter of those expected the problems to last a long time. Of those companies which do a moderate or large amount of trading with Europe, 60% expect the situation to get worse rather than better.

Boris Johnson and his Cabinet’s obsession with Brexit will never allow them to reconsider the decision to leave Europe so the UK is looking at a future in which the current problems will only increase. And remember … Scotland is disproportionately badly hit by Brexit. That means the problems are even worse in a country that voted AGAINST Brexit.

An opinion poll just this week showed that a desire to rejoin Europe was the issue that could drive a majority independence vote in a future independence referendum.

But as long as we are governed by Westminster, rejoining Europe will never be on the table. Luckily Scotland has an alternative, all we need to do is grasp it. Now that the Leave vote in the rest of the UK has removed Scotland from the EU we have to rejoin and that will take time. We may have to wait as long as four years to become full members but we can in the shorter term join the European Economic Area (the EU Single Market) without being full EU members. That would take less time as Scotland already meets all the criteria having been EU members for so long. In other words, a Norway style deal that also gives us flexibility in our trading relationship with the rest of the UK after independence.

When we do so Scotland’s many vital advantages and significant untapped potential will allow us to develop our already successful exporting record without being held back by the UK. Escaping the dead hand of Westminster policies and the pressing new dangers of Brexit will be a huge boon to Scottish exports and the Scottish economy. They will thrive with the bespoke policies and attention they can only receive in an independent Scotland.

This is the 13th in a series of 24 articles for undecided voters which we are running over 12 weeks. To participate in the Yes Challenge, give your unique code to somebody you want us to talk to about indy and direct them to If you have any problems with the unique codes, or want additional codes, please email us at and to find out more about this campaign visit!