The bombshell analysis by Scottish Parliament experts blows a hole in the SNP’s economic case for seeking to break up the United Kingdom in another referendum.
At present, the cost of EU membership to Scotland and the rest of the UK is cushioned by the annual rebate won by Margaret Thatcher in 1985.
Nevertheless, the net contribution from north of the Border based on the SNP Government’s own figures was still £528million last year.
Sturgeon would need to find £1bn a year for EU membership, official Hollyrood figures reveal
This is an eye-watering sum that would undoubtedly have an impact on public spending
Conservative MSP Ross Thomson
With the loss of Scotland’s share of the UK’s rebate, however, that sum would have increased to a whopping £863million.
According to the Holyrood report, the total amount paid to Brussels by Scottish taxpayers over the past five years would add up to an eye-watering £4.1billion.
On top of an independent Scotland’s huge predicted deficit of £15billion, this annual bill would put even greater pressure on public finances.
Scottish taxpayers would have handed £4bn to Brussels over the last five years, report finds
Conservative MSP Ross Thomson, who campaigned for Leave in last year’s Brexit referendum, said: “These figures suggest that an independent Scotland within the EU would contribute significantly more than we do at present due to the loss of the UK rebate.
“Based on the government’s own figures, we could be looking at a bill of more than £800million at a time when the public finances would already be under severe pressure due to the gaping deficit.
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“That is an eye-watering sum that would undoubtedly have an impact on public spending.
“Along with joining the euro and dragging our fishermen back into the hated Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), this is another hammer blow for the SNP case for an independent Scotland in the EU.
Ms Sturgeon has insisted that full EU membership remains SNP policy
“It is little wonder that we have seen senior party figures soften their stance on full membership of the EU in recent weeks. The one million Leave voters in Scotland – and particularly those in our fishing communities – will not be so easily fooled, however.”
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) provided a “notional figure” for an independent Scotland’s EU membership bill based on the Government Expenditure and Revenue (GERS) figures from the past five years.
However, the analysts added: “We are not aware of any assessment of future Scottish contributions to the EU budget. This may be in part because it is not possible to make any definitive projections about Scotland’s potential contribution to and receipts from the EU budget were it to join the European Union as an independent country.”
They said the definitive figure would have to take into account the outcome of any membership talks, as well as future Scottish tax receipts, economic performance and EU grants.
Mr Thomson described the fee as an 'eye-watering sum' which will 'have an impact on public spending' All the best pictures from the Scotland Referendum Sun, March 5, 2017
More than 3.6m people turned out to vote in the Scottish independent referendum, resulting in a 'No' vote with 55.3%.Here we take a look at the public's reaction.
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Pro-Independence supporters are pictured in Edinburgh, Scotland, on September 19, 2014, as referendum results are announced. Scotland appeared set to reject independence on Friday with 23 out of 32 voting areas declared and the crucial Glasgow region having given its result
Last month, Scotland’s Brexit minister Mike Russell was accused of writing “a blank cheque” for EU membership when he said described £3.3billion a year as a “small price to pay”.
Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that full EU membership remains SNP policy, although senior party figures are pushing to join the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) instead.
The First Minister hinted at this “transition” option earlier this month, when she said retaining membership of the single market was the “minimum” for a separate Scotland.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Brexit threatens to cost Scotland’s economy around £11billion a year by 2030 and cost the country 80,000 jobs over a decade. There was a 62 per cent vote for Remain in Scotland and the people of Scotland should have the final choice on our future, once the terms of Brexit are clear.
“We’ll set out a plan for an independent Scotland well in advance of any referendum so people will have an informed choice.”