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  • Jimena Schoemann de Miguel

Is Scotland going to leave the United Kingdom?

Scotland is not going to become independent. 44.7% of voters asked if they wanted Scotland to leave the United Kingdom said yes, but 55.3% voted no, with a record turnout of 85%.

What are the pros and cons of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom?

There are many pros to Scottish independence such as the fact that they would be able to re-join the European Union, they would be able to protect the NHS and they would have power over policy. However, there are also many cons, such as trading problems, debt and difficulties gaining a position on the world stage.

Why would it be a pro for Scotland to join the European Union? The answer: 62% of Scottish voters wanted the United Kingdom to stay part of the EU, but 46.6% of England’s people wanted it to be independent. By joining the EU, the free movement of labour, goods, services, and capital would be easier. Why is it a pro that they would be able to protect the NHS? SNP MP, Dr Philippa Whitford insisted earlier this month, that independence was “key to protecting” the health service in Scotland, but that might not convince voters. Power of policy is also a pro; if Scotland had left the United Kingdom, they would have more control over constitutional matters, environmental politics, energy, and immigration.

Now onto the cons, one of which is trading problems. Scotland's biggest trading partners are the other members of the United Kingdom, for instance, 60% of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK, excluding oil and gas. The European Union received only 19% of Scottish exports, compared to the 21% Scotland exported globally in 2019. This would be significantly more difficult if Scotland had left the United Kingdom.

Another negative aspect is the depth and deficit dilemma Scotland’s undergoing. Their fiscal position improved more than that of the rest of UK from 2021 to 2022 and became better than the whole of the UK for two main reasons. Scotland’s national deficit between the reduction of public spending during the pandemic and reduced and gas and oil revenues expanded. The difference between what is paid and what is raised is huge, which means tax rises. If Scotland were to leave the UK, it would temporarily lose its access to the NATO global trade division at the UN and the G7, which it can currently access because of its union with the United Kingdom. Scotland could join the European Union, but the UK’s public net sector contribution to the European Union was about £9.4 billion. With no representation, Scotland could potentially lose its right to be heard in important global issues.

Does the United Kingdom need Scotland?

An independent Scotland would have the 14th highest GDP in the world. This wealth benefits the United Kingdom, making them the 18th richest country. In conclusion: the United Kingdom needs Scotland, and Scotland needs the United Kingdom, therefore Scotland is still going to stay part of the United Kingdom.

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