SNP’s ‘reckless’ plot for Scotland-England border dashed by OWN analysis
Scotland economy 'will be bleak if independent' says expert
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Under a hard border, it would mean goods from England crossing the border would have to be checked similar to the Northern Ireland Protocol arrangements. The Scottish First Minister said Scotland would try to negotiate arrangements to “keep trade flowing easily across the border” if it becomes independent and is successful at taking the country back into the EU.
But the SNP leader refused to rule out a hard border and also admitted there had been no analysis on the financial impact of a hard border if Scotland were to separate from the UK.
However, now a briefing document obtained under Freedom of Information laws to Scottish government ministers raises concerns about the prospect of a hard border on checks.
The document, which outlines what would happen to Scotland and the EU in the event of a Yes vote in 2014, reads: “Erecting border controls with Scotland would be inconvenient and costly, for all common travel area partners, including Scotland and the rest of the UK, and not in the interests of any party.
“Our shared history, culture and borders make the common travel area of benefit to all the five unique territories within it.”
Following the revelations, Holyrood opposition parties accused SNP government ministers of having “no convincing answers” on a border argument.
Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative constitution spokesperson, said: “A hard border would risk hundreds of thousands of jobs in Scotland which are reliant on the UK single market.
“No wonder the Scottish government’s own briefings highlight the costs of the SNP’s reckless plans.
“Nicola Sturgeon admitted during the election that the SNP had done no analysis on the economic impact of independence.
“They have no convincing answers on their plans for a post-referendum border with England.
“All our focus should be on our economic recovery, rather than pushing for another divisive referendum.”
Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing Europe think-tank also claimed the EU would refuse to offer “favourable terms and concessions” for Scotland in staying in the Common Travel Area if they joined the bloc.
He added: “I find it inconceivable that the same sort of flexibility would be shown to Scotland when it comes to the discussion of an English-Scottish border.”
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This is despite the Scottish government ministers briefing document claiming Brussels would be “flexible” over Scotland remaining in the Common Travel Area, which allows Irish and British Citizens to travel between the Republic of Ireland and the UK without passport checks.
The document added: “The EU has spent all of its 50 or so years of existence seeking to demolish borders across the EU.
“It is hardly likely that the Commission will use the moment of Scotland’s independent membership of the EU to insist that a new internal border is created between Scotland and the rest of the Common Travel Area.”
Trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK is three times higher than that with the EU.
Scotland also exported £51.2billion in goods and services to the rest of the UK in 2018, the latest available UK Government figures show.
The Scottish Government were approached for comment.
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