In a letter published in The Holyrood Magazine this week, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote that Scotland will have much to benefit economically from upcoming Brexit negotiations.
In the letter, May emphasised that in leaving the European Union (EU) “Scotland’s status will not be diminished […] it will be enhanced.”
The Conservative Party leader asserted that Scotland’s economy has the means to thrive independent of the EU and subsequently significantly improve its global standing.
She specifically pointed to the importance of “the financial expertise of Edinburgh […] the shipbuilding prowess of the Clyde and the globally renowned food and drink produce of Scotland’s countryside” in shaping a strong new role for Britain in the international market.
Contradicting May’s conviction, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon released an analysis by the Scottish Government of the cost of Brexit to Scotland. The report found that the economy could lose between £1.7 billion and £11.2 billion each year by 2030.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, 24 August, Sturgeon stated that “whatever the model of relationship with the EU which is chosen by the UK Government in their negotiations before and after Article 50 is triggered, it will not be as economically beneficial as full EU membership.”
Annual EU spending in Scotland is £782.6 million, which amounts to Scotland earning 17.4 per cent of the EU spending for the whole of the UK. EU exports have also been calculated to support 300,000 jobs in Scotland.
Although the economic consequences of Brexit upon Scotland remain both uncertain and strongly contested, May has urged that “it is more important than ever for the UK Government and the Scottish Government to work together, in the best interests of the Scottish people, to get the best possible outcomes for our citizens.”
May stated in her letter that the “overriding focus” of this year’s Conservative Party conference in Birmingham will be on laying the foundations for a post-Brexit Britain that will work for the entire United Kingdom.
“We will demonstrate that politics can and must make a positive difference to people’s lives and that the Conservative Party is the modern-day force of progress, reforming our economy, society and politics so they work for ordinary working people”, she said.
62 per cent of Scotland voted to remain in the EU with a turnout of 67.2 per cent. Edinburgh City had the largest local percentage of Remain voters, numbering 74.4 per cent. May nonetheless argues that anti-establishment sentiment has been as “strong in Scotland as it is anywhere else in the UK” and that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP “need to accept [their] share of responsibility” for the outcome of the referendum.
May has relayed that she wants the message to be loud and clear: “from Bude to Bute: we are on your side, and we are delivering for you.”