ANOTHER month and we are hearing another emergency financial statement from the (current) UK Chancellor.

Amidst the usual Westminster psychodrama though there is one constant, albeit they’ll contort themselves into all sorts of knots to pretend otherwise: that Brexit remains an economic disaster for all of us.

Covid and the war in Ukraine have, of course, not helped the UK’s economic situation, but no other country has it as bad as the UK does, and that’s because of the added factors of Brexit and the disastrous Liz Truss/Kwasi Kwarteng clown show.

Re-opening after Covid, the legacy of quantitative easing and the Covid support measures have all driven up inflation as demand for products returned. Putin’s colonial war against Ukraine has also seen prices for food, fertiliser and energy rocket up as he inflicts destruction and death upon a peaceful democratic neighbour.

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So it’s a tough economic situation out there for everywhere, but don’t let the Tories off the hook for disasters of their own making.

Let’s look at the stats. According to an analysis published by the House of Commons Library last week, the Eurozone’s GDP was 2.1% higher in the last economic Quarter compared to pre-pandemic levels. For Italy, it was 1.8%. France, 1.1%. Germany, 0.2%. The UK was the only G7 country whose growth was negative compared to pre-pandemic levels at -0.4.%.

On inflation, numbers from Eurostat show that France’s inflation was 6.2% in September. Ireland’s was 8.6%. Spain sat at 9%. In contrast, the Office for National Statistics shows that the UK’s inflation was 10.1%.

The whole world is facing strong economic headwinds. Yet there’s only one country which chose to leave the European Union, and is suffering more as a consequence.

I am, of course, biased. I believe that Scotland’s best future lies in rejoining the European Union – and having spent 16 years representing Scotland in Brussels, I am far from objective, however hard I try to be.

Yet don’t just take my word for it. In an interview on Bloomberg TV on Monday, Michael Saunders, a former Bank of England policymaker stated: “The UK economy as a whole has been permanently damaged by Brexit – it has reduced the economy’s potential output significantly, eroded business investment.” He added that if it were not for Brexit, “we probably wouldn’t be talking about an austerity budget this week – the need for tax rises and spending cuts wouldn’t be there if Brexit hadn’t reduced the economy’s potential output so much”.

He’s not alone. The director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies made the same point over the weekend, as did the editor of the Financial Times. Whether it be economists or businesses, they are all singing from the same hymn sheet – Brexit has been an economic disaster.

Dig beneath the macroeconomic picture and we are seeing in real time what this means for families and individuals across these islands.

As reported by the BBC, the cost of living is rising at the fastest rate in 40 years. Real wages have fallen by 2.7%. Food bank use in Scotland alone has risen by a third as we suffer under Tory economic mismanagement. The Bank of England is warning that unemployment will nearly double by 2025 and that the UK is expected to experience the longest recession since records began in the 1920s.

On top of more than a decade of austerity, the economic portents for the UK are not looking good.

So what is to be done? Ultimately, only independence and a return to the EU will secure Scotland’s economic stability in the long term.

There are real measures that can be done now though to relieve the pressure on public services and save lives this winter.

In Scotland, our government has increased the Scottish Child Payment from £20 to £25 per week per child and has extended it to all eligible under-16s. Down in Westminster, we are calling for the UK to expand the earlier windfall tax to include all firms raking in excess profits as well as introduce a new tax on share buybacks and scrap non-dom tax status.

These ideas are just a few of what the SNP has proposed ahead of Thursday’s Autumn Statement. Instead of cutting more into the bones of public services, Jeremy Hunt can spread the economic pain so that those with the resources to bear it can help those who cannot.

If lives are to be saved this coming winter, there is simply no alternative in the short term.

If our future is to be secured, then only independence in Europe will guarantee that for Scotland.