SNP accused of major cover-up as Humza Yousaf attacked for 'playing politics'

Scotland'sp First Minister Humza Yousaf

Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 20/09/2023

- 19:38

The SNP is hellbent on dragging Scotland away from its 316-year-old political union with its largest trading partner

The Scottish National Party has been attacked for “playing politics” after failing to release data about trade with Europe and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Export data between Scotland and its main trading partners was last published in December 2021.

It showed the rest of the United Kingdom constituted 60 per cent of Scottish trade, compared to just 19 per cent going to the European Union and 21 per cent going to the rest of the world.

Intra-UK trade increased by more than five per cent in 2019, higher than the 2.6 per cent witnessed with the EU and 4.1 per cent experienced with the rest of the world.

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Tory MSP Murdo Fraser told The Scottish Express: “SNP ministers must be upfront with the public as to why these vital statistics are continuing to gather dust.”

The Shadow Economic Growth Minister added: “We have no idea how Scotland’s exports have been performing since before Covid struck.

“Nationalist ministers who try and dismiss the importance of the UK market to Scotland’s economy cannot play politics over this.

“They must confirm a date when the latest stats will finally be published and guarantee this will be done on a consistent basis going forward.”

An image of goods ready for export

An image of goods ready for export


Cross-border trade could become a major problem if Scots took heed of the SNP’s commitment to vote for independence in a second referendum.

Independence Minister Jamie Hepburn conceded border checks would be part of a “new reality”.

However, Hepburn also insisted ending the Union would not impose any restrictions on personal travel due to the existing Common Travel Area between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Border checks on goods would also become even more difficult if Scotland opted to join the European Union, with difficulties emerging between Northern Ireland and Great Britain post-Brexit.

Scottish independence supporters march through Glasgow during an All Under One Banner marchScottish independence supporters march through Glasgow during an All Under One Banner marchPA

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously echoed concerns about “challenges” on both sides of the border.

Despite criticisms about the UK's ability to sign trade deals, France came under fire for allegedly hampering the ability for Brussels to amend its deal with London.

Responding to criticisms about the latest trade data, the Scottish Government said: “The timing and content of National Statistics, such as Export Statistics Scotland (ESS), are determined independently of Ministers according to the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

“Recent Regional Trade Statistics published by HMRC show the value of Scotland’s goods exports is growing at a faster rate than for the UK as a whole.

“When oil and gas are excluded, the value of Scotland’s goods exports increased by 13.2 per cent, which was greater than the 12 per cent growth experienced by the UK in the year ending June 2023 compared with the previous year.”

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