BORIS Johnson must answer for the “catastrophic economic vandalism” created from Brexit, according to the SNP, following new statistics which show Scotland’s trade plummeting since leaving the European single market.

Details published by HM Revenue & Customs show that, from the period ending June 2021, Scottish exports had decreased by 14% in comparison to the previous year – the highest in the UK.

The 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.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland also saw a decline in exports – decreasing by 2.2%, 13% and 6.1% respectively over the past year.

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The total overall value of UK exports decreased by £11bn (3.5%) to £302bn in the year ending June 2021 compared with the same period the previous year.

Scotland’s imports also fell by 3.9% in comparison to June 2020 – with England’s decreasing by 2.3%, Wales’ by 10%, however Northern Ireland’s rose by 3.8%, perhaps to reflect its closer alignment to the EU.

The SNP’s shadow international trade secretary Drew Hendry 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.

“The SNP repeatedly warned the Tory government at Westminster that ploughing ahead with their reckless Brexit deal, in the middle of a pandemic, would have devastating consequences.

“We are now seeing them in black and white with these figures.

“Boris Johnson must now answer for the catastrophic economic vandalism that he has implemented on Scotland’s trade.

“Beyond the Tory bluff, bluster, and outright denial, Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster for Scotland – and we are paying the price for it against our will.”

He added: “There is an alternative to continuing down the long dark road set out by the Tories.

“The only way to keep Scotland safe from the long-term damage of Tory Brexit is to become an independent nation, with the full powers needed to secure a strong, equal, and fair recovery – and to regain the economic and trading benefits of EU membership.”

According to the Scottish Government, Scotland exported goods worth £16.1bn to the EU in 2018.

Food, drinks and tobacco products made up £2.2bn, petrol and chemical goods made up £3.3bn while computer and optical products accounted for £1.1 billion.

In terms of 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.

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Recent weeks have seen considerable disruption to trade between the EU and the UK with many British supermarket shelves left empty as a result of supply chain problems.

Some of the shortages are being blamed on an insufficient number of lorry drivers with many EU nationals, which the haulage sector heavily relied on, leaving the UK after Brexit and now reluctant to return.

Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to hold a second independence referendum before the end of 2023 so long as the coronavirus pandemic has passed with the ambition of taking an independent Scotland into the EU.

The First Minister indicated last week she will give a concrete update on the Scottish Government’s plans in Spring next year.