THE SNP has accused Boris Johnson of creating “economic vandalism” with his Brexit deal after figures show Scottish exports have fallen by a quarter in two years.
According to HMRC data, Scottish exports between April and June this year fell by 14 per cent, compared to the same period in 2020.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland also saw falls in exports, with reductions of 2.2%, 13% and 6.1% respectively.
Compared to June 2019, the value of exports from Scotland has fallen by 24%, from around £34bn to around £21bn, with Wales also experiencing the same percentage decrease. Northern Ireland and England saw smaller decreases, of 15% and 12%.
The SNP’s shadow international trade secretary said the Prime Minister “must answer for the catastrophic economic vandalism that he has implemented on Scotland’s trade. ”
Drew Hendry MP 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. ”
He accused Mr Johnson of being “in denial” about the impacts of leaving the EU, and continued: “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. ”
Mr Hendry added that Scotland becoming an independent country was the “alternative to continuing down the long dark road set out by the Tories. ”
A UK Government spokeswoman said businesses could “seize new opportunities” as trade deals are reached with other countries around the world, and suggested the pandemic was to blame for the downturn in exports.
She said: “The impact of the Covid pandemic and restrictions across the world including in Europe has affected trade and depressed demand, so it is too early to draw firm conclusions on the impacts of our new trading relationship with the EU. ONS figures show UK exports in July 2021 were £3bn higher than the previous July, and between May-July exports were over £15bn higher than the same period last year.”
She said the government was supporting firms to trade with the EU by running webinars and delaying “full import controls”, adding: “Industries can also seize new opportunities as we strike new trade deals and reduce trade barriers around the world, as we did when we secured the suspension of the US’s retaliatory tariffs for the Scottish whisky industry earlier this year.”