Doin’ Ma Nut In

Breaking News…(imagine the text is moving across the bottom of the screen while a drum thumps in the background)

News just in…the government has released the latest import-export figures for Scotland and they confirm the arguments made in the blog below. Thank you, John, in National Accounts Statistics.

They sent them in tabular form which is pretty much encrypting them for all the use they are to me. But, with the aid of my eight-year-old, I found the 2015 stats. They appear to show Scotland’s exports to the rest of the UK to be £45 billion while imports from rUK to be nearer £51 billion, a difference of £6 billion. As I said, they need us just as much as we need them. Indeed, if you think of England’s exports totalling in the region of £220 billion, then the share they send to Scottish markets is about 23 per cent of their export total. Not as much as 63 per cent, I grant you, but a huge economic hit on a country which will be struggling to find markets post Brexit…and even if it wasn’t.

Of course you may consider that you’d rather be a net exporter than importer to another market and I agree with that but that’s another twist on the tale that confuses the message. It’s for another day.

There is in the publication another of those provisos about how hard it is to compare some companies and products with others. And in the latest edition of the Global Connections Survey, the one that shows 63 per cent of our exports going  to rUK, theres the rather telling caveat that the information is from a survey, one in which 5000 of Scotland’s 350,000 companies were asked to collate information and only 1500 did so. Many of them point out how incomplete their information is. So I’m not the only one confused enough not to buy simplistic messages about poor wee Scotland and mighty England.

ENOUGH! There’s wine in the fridge…

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20 thoughts on “Doin’ Ma Nut In

  1. Great work. These are the kind of numbers we need to counter the inevitable propaganda. Thanks Derek.

  2. White wine?

    Your salt is in the larder though… 😉

  3. This import/export between Sctalnd and England is all just bollocks. Let me give one small example, much of the equipment that is used in the North Sea oilfields for the subsea sector is built in England.

    Let’s take the company OneSubsea which is the result of a recent merger between Cameron and Slhumberger. Well they have factories in both Leeds and Aberdeen, both are capable of building exactly the same equipment.

    If we couldn’t “import” this from the Leeds factory then we would surely build them in Scotland. It would be an expansion for the Scottish division of OneSubsea in other words and a contraction in Leeds.

    There will be no trade war, common sense will prevail. Scotaland is more that capable os manufacturing what it needs, right now it is shared around the UK. In any trade war the UK would be the more wounded and Scotland will prosper.

    Ignore the political and media bullshit. If we cease importing from England for our North sea sector for example then we will build it ourselves and attract the talent that we need to do it to came and live here.

    There is no “threat”.

  4. Apologies for the poor spelling, currently in another time zone and had a pint or two 🙂

  5. George Osborne sold off a huge chunk of UK assets in the last few years, probably tens of £billions worth. Is Scotland’s share of these sales allocated to Scotland in the GERS figures?

  6. Waaaaay ahead of you on the wine front. It is Friday.

    Nearly a quarter of rUK exports go to Scotland. As I said last thread, I’d so love to be in the room when any PM tells big business why they are no longer trading with Scotland.

    Another wee point to consider. Is there any room for increasing export growth to rUK, or indeed for inward investment? How would that compare to the potential for inward investment and export growth to the EU I wonder?

  7. jacquescoleman

    And the survey you quote is none other than the one from which much of GERS ‘Data’ is extracted. (For those items where HARD data is not available, ie ninety per cent of the items.)

  8. 1500 businesses.
    Less than half of one percent of Scottish businesses.

  9. Add oil and gas to our exports and see what the figure would be, England couldnt do without Scottish energy being sent south.

  10. If you think this is bad Derek, then next ‘issue’ to investigate in the ‘unknown region’ in the ONS’s annual UK export figures.

    Thats a beezer.

    Basically, an example of this is, say an oil platform exports oil directly from a rig to a vessel that is exported immediately, without ever being brought ashore, then that export is listed in the an area called the ‘unknown region’, even if the oil platform in question was in Scottish waters.

    It’s not just oil, but a whole range of different business. The ‘unknown region’ accounts for some 15% or so of all UK exports and is only added to the UK balance sheet to give the false impression that it revenue from England.

  11. Lies, damn lies and statistics. Let’s hammer the Yoons with their fake stats.

    I was out on the town with my ex work colleagues in London tonight and the majority could understand why Scotland wanted to be independent. We also have many friends down south who will be sad to see us go but completely understand why we need to part.

  12. We never hear how much Cornwall, Yorkshire or Monmouthshire export to UK.

    Every time I hear someone talking about how much Scotland depends on UK for its exports, I realise that they have already conceded that we are a separate nation.

  13. Please,please. Scotland is an exporting nation. We export our surplus production of oil and gas, power, agricultural produce, beverages( beer,gin and whisky).

    So where does it all go wrong such that we are accused of being a dependency nation, beholden to Westminster’s benevolence? Are we selling selling our products too cheap? Are we constrained in our marketing endeavours?Are we not given due credit, and income acknowledgement of our production contribution?

    Economics: The allocation of scarce resources. And to find the elegant convergence of supply and demand to gain maximum economic benefit. Scotland just does not have the power to seek that convergence, it is held at Westminster.

    Wealth is power, and Westminster will not yield that power to Scotland democratically.

    And so to, finally,

    Statement no1: To Kezia and Tank Ruthie. You are economic and political idiots. Unless of course your agenda is not for the good of your country, Scotland. If so speak up, be honest.

    Statement No2: If you are a not too well off Unionist, meaning you can pay your bills, can afford an annual budget holiday, run a car, and just about pay your golf club fees, life is going to get a whole lot worse for you following Brexit. Brexit is for the seriously well to do.

    Statement No3 : I’m retired, Chartered Engineer, post – Grad degree in Economics. I know a bit, been around the block.

    Folks,vote for independence, it’s your lifeboat opportunity to dignity and prosperity..

  14. I suspect a great many companies in Scotland have long sought the easy option and sold their products down the road to places in England rather than be a bit more adventurous and seek out new markets further afield. I know some businesses in the Borders still believe in buying British whether products or components.

    The EU is, I understand, providing finance for Ireland to lessen its reliance on the UK market, and I suspect the Scottish government and the EU (if we remain in it) would work to help our companies develop new markets, indeed the SG is already doing this.

    Whatever our deficit (if it exists) and whatever the GERS figures say, we need to grow our economy to be able to afford all the things we want to do in an independent Scotland, the infrastructure we want to develop, the opportunities we want to provide. All require an economy firing on all cylinders for the benefit of of all who live here.

    • It can be done. We emigrated to NZ in ’72, just before the UK entered the EEC and the doors slammed on NZ meat, wool, dairy, fish, fruit. Suddenly new markets were needed.

      Government helped, tax beaks etc enabled the freezing works (where animals are slaughtered and processed for export) were rebuilt, including rationalising and strategic siting. They know face Mecca and all the animals are humanely halal slaughtered and the bulk now exported to the Middle East.

      The government also funded and decided where container ports were going to be built. There are 5 or 6 dotted around NZ so produce for export does not have to travel far to get on a large ship for export.

      Also in this time the humble Chinese gooseberry was renamed the Kiwifruit and a new export industry was born.

      Scotland has ONE container port, up the Forth near Grangemouth so not deep water. I see it recently trumpeted the installation of electricity so that refrigerated containers could be handled there. This is the state of the art in exports in Scotland. There should be one in Aberdeen, another on the lower Clyde as an absolute minimum and the one on the Forth moved somewhere deeper, closer to the coast and with proper facilities.

      Scottish exports should not have to travel to England to find an export port.

  15. The Tories,for political reasons,are turning their backs on the biggest trading bloc in the world.
    The Tories,for political reasons,are threatening to turn their backs on their nearest trading partner with whom they claim a trading surplus.
    Would you vote for a party which shows such gross incompetence?

  16. There is plenty of information out there on exports and GERs.Only this week we saw the right wing unionist opinion writer David Torrance having yet another strop on twitter when he lost an argument over the GERs figures.
    What is frustrating though is the lack of effort that SNP politicians seem to put in in getting the facts out there. This attitude has to change instead of sitting being interviewed and not really putting up much of a fight when these figures are put to them.

  17. O/T Sorry Best of luck to all attending Yet another protest at the BBC Pacific Heights bunker ,
    Its being Live streamed on Independence live from 2.00 today give them some support .

  18. Mr Bateman,

    Good piece, as ever, but, can this old hot-metal hack offer some advice – whilst appreciating, with your background in broadcasting you don’t have to bother with this as often as we print guys do.

    “Doin’ Ma Heid In” is how your piece should have been headed for the Scottish market.

    Jist sayin’ like.

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