Scotland politics

EU Referendum: Osborne says Brexit would cost Scots £4.5bn

George Osborne Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Osborne will unveil Treasury analysis of the impact leaving the EU could have on Scotland

Leaving the EU would cause a "profound economic shock" to the Scottish economy, the UK Chancellor has claimed

During a visit to the Borders, George Osborne said Brexit would wipe £4.5bn from Scotland's economy.

He predicted that unemployment would increase by 40,000 over the next two years if the UK votes to Leave in the referendum on 23 June.

The Leave campaign accused Mr Osborne of making a "desperate attempt to scare voters into backing Remain".

And it accused the Chancellor of using "made up statistics" that have been "dismissed by supporters of his own side as scaremongering".

Meanwhile, former prime minister Gordon Brown and another ex-Labour leader, Neil Kinnock, will be hosting an evening rally for the Remain campaign in Glasgow.

Image caption Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon will face each other in a ITV debate on Thursday evening

And Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be appearing on a televised ITV debate on Thursday evening, which will see her go head-to-head with former London mayor Boris Johnson.

Ms Sturgeon, who is backing Remain, said ahead of the debate that she believed the futures of both Scotland and the UK would be "fairer, more secure and more prosperous as part of Europe".

She has previously criticised the tactics of the official Remain campaign, claiming that Mr Osborne and David Cameron have been too negative and reliant on "scaremongering".

Elsewhere in the EU referendum campaign:

Image copyright Getty Images

But Mr Osborne, who will be joined by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, used his visit to Scotland to reveal new analysis of the impact a vote to leave could have north of the border.

He said the Treasury analysis suggested that:

  • The Scottish economy could be reduced in size by £4.5bn by 2018
  • The jobless total could increase by about 43,000 over two years
  • Homeowners could also see the value of their property reduced by £22,000 over the same period
  • More than two fifths (43%) of all exports from Scotland go the EU
  • European firms have invested in Scotland more than 150 times in five years, creating or protecting 16,000 jobs.

He also said visitors from Europe had a key role in supporting Scotland's tourist sector, which employs nearly 280,000 people, while the agricultural workforce of 65,000 benefited from 648 million euros (£506m) in grants from the Common Agricultural Policy in 2014.

Mr Osborne argued: "Every credible independent voice agrees that if the UK votes to leave the EU there would be a profound economic shock that would hurt people's jobs, livelihoods and living standards in Scotland.

"Trade exports to the EU have created jobs in Scotland and withdrawing from the single market would have a huge impact on the economy here. It is simply not a price worth paying.

"I urge everyone to vote to Remain in the EU on 23 June."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Leave campaigners argue that Brexit would see a raft of powers handed over to the Scottish Parliament from Brussels

Responding to the Chancellor, Tom Harris of the Scottish Vote Leave campaign said: "The people of Scotland won't take kindly to the Tory austerity chancellor coming to Scotland in a desperate attempt to scare voters into backing remain. Osborne and Cameron know the only jobs under threat from leaving the EU are their own.

"His made up statistics have been dismissed by supporters of his own side as scaremongering, and it's about time the Chancellor stopped talking down Scotland and the UK's economy."

Vote Leave has argued that the Scottish fishing and farming industries have been "decimated" by the EU, and that Brexit would see full control over these policy areas handed to the Scottish Parliament.

It has also said Holyrood would have been free to set a minimum price for alcohol four years ago without any hindrance from European courts,