Brexit will cost Scotland 2.2bn- Remain Camp warns

Scottish firms will be hit with a 2.2 billion "export tax" if Britain left the European Union, analysis by the Stronger in Europe campaign today claims.

The warning comes after both sides of the In-Out debate intensified the rhetoric on the economic front with David Cameron claiming Brexit would "put a bomb under the economy" and Boris Johnson saying it was
a "delusion" to think the UK could boost its prosperity by "bartering away our freedom and democracy".

And it follows a suggestion by Shell - the UK's largest oil firm - that leaving the EU could trigger another independence referendum.

The Remain camp's tax analysis claims that across the UK as a whole the financial hit of Brexit on businesses would total 34.4bn because of so-called "non-tariff" trade barriers.

The additional red tape would include having to submit customs declarations and adapting products to different standards.

The average business exporting to the EU would be faced with an extra cost of 79,500, says the analysis. In Scotland, this would affect 27,330 businesses; across the UK, 430,000.

Matthew Anderson, vice president of Edinburgh-based company Unicorn ARC and a member of the Scotland Stronger In Europe advisory group, said: "It's clear 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."

The Stronger In analysis comes in a letter to Vote Leave, written by Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, and Lord Mandelson, one of his Labour predecessors in the role.

In it they say: "A campaign to leave the EU's single market without a plan for an alternative is an act of economic sabotage which would risk thousands of jobs, billions of trade and investment and the future economic stability of our country."

But Tom Harris, the Scottish Vote Leave director, dismissed the Remain camp analysis as yet more scaremongering from the Prime Minister's Project Fear.

"Leaving the EU does not mean trade will stop," declared the former Labour minister.

"We would still have free trade with the continent and many nations not in the EU trade freely in Europe."

Mr Harris accused Mr Cameron of trying to distract voters from the real risks of remaining in the EU such as being on the hook for more Eurozone bailouts and not having control over Britain's borders.

He added: "Leaving allows us to secure global trade agreements, which will help Scottish exporters access to international markets. It allows us to spend our money on our priorities like the Scottish NHS, and it would deliver more powers for the Scottish Parliament. Leaving also allows us to control immigration which would increase wages and cut rents for people right across Scotland."

Meanwhile, Shell, is today expected to warn that an independent Scotland would struggle to afford the billions of pounds needed to support decommissioning in the crisis-hit North Sea.

The warning comes just days after a survey suggested nearly one in three of the UK's oil and gas firms was planning further job cuts this year, following a global slump in prices.

On the campaign trail, Mr Cameron joined senior figures from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, accusing the Leave campaign of an "undemocratic and reckless" failure to explain to voters how they saw Britain's economic future if Britain quit the EU.

He warned Brexit would plunge the UK into recession with businesses going bust, unemployment rising and sterling falling; followed by a "decade of uncertainty" as Britain attempted to negotiate new trade arrangements with the rest of the world.

The PM added: "Add those things together - the shock impact, the uncertainty impact, the trade impact - and you put a bomb under our economy. And the worst thing is we'd have lit the fuse ourselves."

But on the stump in Stratford-upon-Avon, Mr Johnson accused Remain of being willing to sacrifice democracy for economic gain.

"That argument is morally and practically and completely wrong and that democracy is in fact the vital ingredient of economic success," declared the former London mayor.

He added: "It is irreplaceable and we need to restore it because it is the absence of democratic control that is having all sorts of disastrous consequences for Britain and for the whole of the EU."

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