Stirling Observer

Brexit could cost us £520m

Report points to economic losses

- Alastair McNeill

Academics estimate that Brexit could see the Stirling local authority area lose between £260m and £520m a year.

According to a report produced by the London School of Economics calculatin­g Brexit’s impact across the UK, Stirling is set to lose 2.5 per cent in the value of its goods and services under a soft Brexit scenario or five per cent with a hard Brexit no deal.

But the report, which predicts Scotland’s towns and cities could lose £30bn as a result of leaving the EU in a hard Brexit, prompted a war of words between Stirling’s Holyrood and Westminste­r representa­tives.

Stirling SNP MSP Bruce Crawford accused the UK Government of recklessne­ss, while his Conservati­ve opponent in Westminste­r Stephen Kerr said the SNP were overly pessimisti­c.

Mr Crawford said: “People across the Stirling area voted decisively to remain in the European Union last year, but we are all set to suffer the consequenc­es of a fate that we did not choose.

“If people were in any doubt about the costs of Brexit, this report makes it perfectly clear – the Stirling area along with the rest of Scotland will pay a heavy price for being dragged out of the European single market against our will.

“But while all Scottish regions are set to suffer, this could be twice as bad if a reckless Tory government plays fast and loose with Scotland’s economy and heads for the EU exit door without securing a deal on the single market.

“The SNP in Holyrood and Westminste­r has been completely consistent on this point – maintainin­g Scotland’s single market membership is absolutely vital in terms of protecting jobs, living standards, Scottish businesses and – as this report shows – the sale of goods and services from each and every part of our country.

“While the UK government has kept under wraps its own analysis of the hefty price Scotland will pay for Brexit, they can’t keep this hidden from the public any longer.

“Scottish businesses deserve the truth now.”

But MP Mr Kerr responded: “Just being consistent doesn’t mean you are right – as the SNP continue to prove.

“Although I will give them this, they are extremely consistent at running down Scotland’s ability to deal with leaving the EU and are predictabl­y depressing with their determinat­ion to see only negativity rather than get out there and advocate for the businesses in the new markets that will be available.

“Of course we all want to get the best deal for our country, some of us are actively working for that while the SNP sit on the side-lines woefully declaiming disaster as it suits their blinkered obsession with independen­ce.”

Out of the 48,391 votes cast in the June 2016 European referendum in the Stirling local authority area, 33,112 (67 per cent) were in favour of remaining in the EU.

There were 15,787 votes cast supporting leaving the EU (32 per cent).

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