Scotland Office spending taxpayers’ cash downplaying importance of EU trade

Almost fifty thousand pounds of taxpayer’s cash has been spent by the Scotland Office in order to support UK Govt claims that Scottish trade with the UK is four times that of the EU.

A Freedom of Information [FOI] request has revealed that the UK Govt run department spent £47,395.65 on a social media campaign involving Facebook, Google and Twitter.

The campaign, funded by the Cabinet Office on behalf of the Conservative Government, included pay-per-click Google adverts which appeared above search results, and a video on Twitter, both highlighting official Scottish Government export statistics.

A FOI request by Discourse.scot revealed that, to date, £38,892.33 has been spent on Facebook, while Google and Twitter have cost taxpayers £4,483.36 and £4,019.96 respectively.

Defending the cost of the campaign, the Scotland Office said: “Research shows many people do not understand the importance of the trading relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK – which is worth four times that of trade with the European Union, and supports four times as many Scottish jobs.

“This campaign addresses that, informing the public and encouraging Scottish businesses to take full advantage of our biggest, barrier-free market.

“The UK Government has a responsibility to ensure the public are equipped with the facts.”

Claims that Scotland has four times the trade with the UK than it does with the European Union has been a feature of pro-Union rhetoric since last June when Scots voted to remain a member of the EU.  The EU referendum vote, which saw the rest of the UK vote to leave, re-ignited the debate over Scottish independence.

The revelation that the UK Government is spending tens of thousands of taxpayers’ cash undermining the importance of the European Union will concern many.  Only days ago it emerged that the UK Govt spent an undisclosed sum commissioning research into the number of Scottish jobs reliant on UK trade.

Findings of the research, carried out by the Fraser of Allander Institute, were headlined by BBC Scotland.

The study claimed over half a million Scottish jobs were as a result of trade with the rest of the UK.

UK Govt claims that Scotland has four times the trade with the UK than it does with the EU have been challenged by opponents who have pointed out that much of the so-called ‘UK trade’ is actually goods that pass through English ports on their way to other international destinations.  The opponents also point out that trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK is unlikely to cease regardless of the constitutional settlement and that jobs are created on both sides of the border.

Commenting on the Fraser of Allander study, Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “Analysis also shows Scotland is the rest of the UK’s second largest export market, behind only the US, with exports worth over £50bn.

“It is quite simply nonsense to suggest that the rest of the UK would cease trading with Scottish firms if we were inside the single market but outside the UK.

“As we have consistently made clear, Scotland does not face a choice between exporting to the EU or the UK – we can, and should, do both.

“This is why we will continue to pursue a way forward which retains our place in Europe’s single market which is vital to protect economic stability, jobs and inward investment.”

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6 thoughts on “Scotland Office spending taxpayers’ cash downplaying importance of EU trade

  1. commonoldworkinchap

    Ok so lets get this straight, were no getting pensions any more, we’ve got a massive deficit,
    GERS is gospel and all trade with the rUK will stop after independence. Yawn……

    It is in the papers and on the telly so it must be true????????????

    Just back from Italy ( have family there ) and was very encouraged by remarks from ordinary
    Italians I spoke with on the subject of Brexit. The antagonism displayed by the Brexiteers and
    a pliant English/Welsh population has not gone unnoticed. The British establishment have
    scored a spectacular own goal. Their actions are being scrutinised in the European press
    like never before. This has led to the realisation from a lot of Europeans ,that the UK’s
    projection of Scotland as a region of the UK is indeed false.

    As David Platt wrote in the Herald a few weeks ago, Scotland is being noticed around the
    world as a progressive nation in its own right. We are no longer thought of as part of England
    in many places. To be given a spotlight , through the British states manic desperation to
    crush Scottish nationhood, is IMO quite fitting.

    The media are desperate now, with even more lurid, patently untrue scare stories. This
    IMO will lead to more people realising how corrupt they are. I mean if it smells like Shite
    it usually is Shite.

  2. bringiton

    The purpose of the Scottish Colonial Office is to represent Westminster’s interests in Scotland.
    That is why they basically only employ PR people.
    Other than that,it serves no purpose,as was admitted by all unionists prior to the rise of the independence movement.
    Now it is a vital part of the Westminster propaganda effort against Scotland.
    Should be renamed the Westminster Office.

  3. Peter A Bell

    Even if Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK (rUK) is “stronger” than with the EU, why should either be adversely affected by independence?

    We can be reasonably certain that Brexit will have a deleterious impact on Scotland’s access to the largest single market in the world. But there is no rational reason whatever to suppose independence would present any impediment to trade at all.

    Talk of Scotland’s trade with rUK being blocked is nothing more than a thinly veiled threat of economic sanctions in retaliation for the people of Scotland making a democratic choice to bring their government home.

    This is an empty threat, as such sanctions would not only almost certainly be illegal, they would also be damaging to the rUK’s very fragile economy.

    We should also ask ourselves if it can possibly be in our interests to remain in a political union which is so fatally flawed as to be sustainable only with coercion

  4. Edward Freeman

    The propaganda about the relative value of Scottish-EU and Scottish-rUK trade is actually a striking example of the Unionist propaganda machine at work – tendentiousness wrapped up in non sequitur and served on a bed of hot air.

    Well, it doesn’t rain very much at all in the Atacama desert, a fact which is actually just as relevant to the question of Scottish independence, but I think we might well object to the UK spending any money on a publicity campaign about it.

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