New stats show importance of Single Market to Scotland’s economy

The EU is the biggest market for Scottish services exports, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show today. This highlights the importance for Scotland of trade with the EU in services, and the dangers of falling out of the Single Market and onto the WTO or a free trade deal which only covers goods trade.

The new ONS publication, ‘Service exports by destination and industry, NUTS1 areas, Great Britain’, for the first time breaks down services exports by the regions and nations of Great Britain (Northern Ireland is not included). It shows that, in 2015, Scotland exported £1.8bn of services to the European Union, more than anywhere else. The EU accounted for 25.5% of Scottish exports of services.

Commenting, John Edward, Scotland Director of Open Britain said:

“These figures make clear that Scotland benefits hugely from services trade with the European Union. This free trade facilitated by our membership of the Single Market is worth £1.8bn to our economy, supporting great numbers of jobs. 

“Leaving the Single Market, as the UK Government wants to do, will put much of this trade at risk. By harmonising regulations, the Single Market does more to boost services trade than any other model. WTO rules, or even a bog-standard free trade deal, simply will not be good enough.

“To protect businesses and jobs in Scotland, the Government must negotiate to keep the UK in the Single Market. Anything less will make the people of Scotland worse off, which would be an unforgiveable outcome.”


Notes to editors:

The ONS figures, released this morning, are here:

Below is a summary of Scottish services exports, according to the ONS figures released today:



Proportion of total

EU nations

£1,797 million


Rest of Europe

£882 million



£1,716 million



£1,097 million



£1,238 million



£312 million



£7,042 million