Belfast Telegraph

Brexit would hand Scottish firms £2.2bn 'export tax', EU campaigners warn

Scottish businesses would face an "export tax" of £2.2 billion in the event of a Brexit vote, Remain campaigners have claimed.

Research by the Stronger In campaign found t he average business exporting to the European Union (EU) would be faced with additional costs worth £79,500 in "non-tariff" trade barriers if the UK votes to leave the single market in the referendum on June 23.

The campaign claims the extra red tape would include having to submit customs declarations, wait for products to clear inspections and the need to adapt products to different standards.

There are 27,330 Scottish businesses that export to the EU, meaning a total additional burden across Scotland of an estimated £2.2 billion, the research said.

The report by Stronger In claims Scotland has a total of 21,100 financial services jobs, 25,490 professional services positions and 13,810 agricultural employees linked to EU exports.

Matthew Anderson, a member of the Scotland Stronger In Europe advisory group, said: "It's clear that the European single market is of huge value to the Scottish economy - it is one of the major gains of our EU membership - and we simply cannot afford to lose it.

"Leaving the single market would mean more barriers to trade through new tariffs and bureaucracy, hitting local businesses with tens of thousands of pounds worth of extra costs, and some £2.2 billion to the Scottish economy as a whole.

"The Leave campaign have no solution to this - as they themselves say, they 'just don't know'.

"As the facts and all the expert evidence show, the positive choice for jobs, investment and Scotland's economy is to vote Remain on 23 June."

Tom Harris, director of Scottish Vote Leave, said: "People are sick of Stronger In's incessant scare-mongering, but that hasn't stopped them trying anyway, and no doubt it'll get worse before the 23rd.

"The vast majority of countries in the world already export to the single market and very few of those nations have any desire to join the EU.

"It's almost as if Stronger In want to give the EU licence to make exports more difficult for the UK by scare-mongering like this.

"Given our export record to the EU and the high quality of goods we already export, there is absolutely no justification whatever for any trade barriers."