Leaving single market would cost Scotland £13bn, says Sturgeon

Scottish first minister urges Jeremy Corbyn to change his position on EU market

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on the British government to abandon its red lines on Brexit, warning that leaving the single market would cost the Scottish economy almost £13 billion (€14.6 billion) over a decade. Launching a report on the impact of different Brexit scenarios on the Scottish economy, Ms Sturgeon said it was clear that remaining in the single market was the least-damaging option.

“With the next phase of the talks to determine the future relationship between EU and the UK due to begin in the next few weeks, it is time now to make that case for continued membership of the single market even more loudly than before. Today we do exactly that, backed by new evidence of the importance of single market membership to our economic and social prospects,” she said.

The report, which Ms Sturgeon described as more detailed than any analysis published by Theresa May’s government, said that a no-deal Brexit would see real disposable income and business investment in Scotland fall about 10 per cent. Scotland’s GDP would be 8.7 per cent lower by 2030 under a no-deal Brexit; 6.1 per cent lower with a free trade agreement; and 2.7 per cent lower if Britain remained in the single market, the report said.

Commons majority

Asserting that there was a majority in the House of Commons for remaining in the single market, Ms Sturgeon said it was crucial to persuade Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to change his position. Mr Corbyn said this week that Britain could not retain single market membership after it left the EU and should instead seek to negotiate full access to that market.


"Either Jeremy Corbyn is still misunderstanding the position of the single market – which given how often it has been pointed out to him can't possibly be the case – or he is now trying to deliberately mislead people with this line that you cannot be in the single market if you are not in the EU," Ms Sturgeon said. "Norway stands as the living proof that that is just not the case."

Rise of Labour left

Mr Corbyn's allies extended their influence within the Labour Party on Monday when three left-wingers were elected to the National Executive Committee. The three candidates were endorsed by Momentum, the campaigning group established to support Mr Corbyn's leadership. They include Momentum's founder, Jon Lansman, a veteran campaigner for party members to be given a bigger role in shaping policy.

“I’ve dreamed for a members-led Labour Party. I think, I hope, that’s what we’ll have. Members will have nine out of a 39-member executive, still under a quarter, but much better representation, a reward that 600,000 members achieved such a fantastic turnaround in the general election,” Mr Lansman told the BBC this week.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times