By Lucy Ashton
Nicola Sturgeon must urgently reveal the full costs that would come with a hard border, the Scottish Conservatives have demanded.
The party has already criticised the SNP’s wafer-thin economic case for independence which was published earlier this week, but offered no answers to long-standing questions surrounding the economy of an independent Scotland.
The SNP leader and First Minister, right, has admitted there will be “customs checks” on goods travelling on roads and railways.
However, they have failed to outline what impact this will have on jobs and exports that are reliant on smooth cross-border trade as well as the costs to people who travel across the border every single day.
Shadow Finance Secretary Liz Smith says the SNP Government are “clueless” about the reality of the impact of a hard border on businesses across Scotland and must reveal their own modelling on it to the public without any further delay.
Almost 60 per cent of Scotland’s exports in 2019 were exported to the rest of the United Kingdom. The stats for 2020, which were published this week last year, have been delayed by the Scottish Government.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Finance and Economy Secretary Liz Smith MSP, said: “Nicola Sturgeon is clueless about the impact a hard border would have on businesses and communities right across Scotland.
“Her latest wafer-thin economic case for independence had no answers on what this would mean for our border communities, the people that routinely travel across the border every day and Scottish businesses who trade with the rest of the United Kingdom.
“Nicola Sturgeon is putting her own selfish obsession of relentlessly pursuing independence rather than outlining the economic costs of what a hard border would mean.
“That is a complete dereliction of duty. Nicola Sturgeon should urgently reveal the SNP’s own economic modelling on a hard border and the reality of what it would mean in practice.
“Her government’s own figures suggest the damage this would cause and the SNP have delayed the publication of the latest export figures to avoid further embarrassment.
“The SNP are now firmly squarely behind a hard border despite the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are reliant on Scotland’s seamless trade with the rest of the United Kingdom. During a cost-of-living crisis, that policy is nothing short of economic vandalism.
Ms Smith, left, added: “Rather than seeking to divide our communities with a hard border, Nicola Sturgeon should be focusing on the real priorities of individuals and businesses across Scotland and supporting them through the cost-of-living crisis.”
Nicola Sturgeon promised during the election last year that businesses would not suffer as a result of border checks. When questioned about a hard border with England by Andrew Marr during the election in 2021, Nicola Sturgeon stated that she would comply with the requirements of EU membership: “We will put in place arrangements and we will negotiate those arrangements for the UK that means that businesses do not, in a practical sense, suffer from any of that.” (Express, 26 April 2021, link).
Scotland’s annual export starts which were last published a year ago this week, have been delayed for publication. Scotland’s 2019 export statistics were first published on 21 October 2021 last year. However, the latest forthcoming publications document from the Scottish Government confirms the 2020 statistics have been delayed for publication with no timeline set as to when they will be published. (Forthcoming publications, 14 October 2022, link; Export statistics 2019, 21 October 2021, link).