Scotland would be on the hook for an annual European Union (EU) membership bill of almost £1 billion a year if it left Brexit Britain to rejoin the struggling bloc, as a result of losing the UK-negotiated rebate.
The late Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher won the rebate after years of overpayments in 1984.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, currently campaigning to reverse the Brexit vote, cost the UK billions of pounds when he gave away a large portion of it in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade Brussels to reform EU agricultural policy. But what remains still saves the country a significant amount of money.
— Business for Britain (@forbritain) October 24, 2014
The Thatcher rebate would not apply to Scotland as a new EU member-state, however, increasing its contributions from £528 million – its share of the UK’s net contribution last year, according to the Daily Express – to £863 million.
“That is an eye-watering sum that would undoubtedly have an impact on public spending,” said Conservative MSP Ross Thomson.
“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,” he added.
Please sign, re-tweet/email/fb the petition! Help get our waters back, worth £6.3bn. No sell out with Gt Repeal billhttps://t.co/Enn7fiRh8a
— Fishing for Leave (@fishingforleave) March 17, 2017
Thomson is just one of a tiny handful of Scottish parliamentarians who endorsed a Leave vote during the EU referendum campaign. Only six out of 129 MSPs backed Brexit openly, and none of Scotland’s 59 MPs did, leaving more than a million Leave voters north of the border grossly underrepresented.
— Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) March 15, 2017
Hopes among Holyrood Europhiles that Scotland might not have to reapply for EU membership, avoiding new members’ reduced rates for things like farm payments and retaining Britain’s rebate, opt-outs from the euro and so on, were dashed by Spain on 27 March.
“Could [Scotland] inherit the British chair in the EU? The Spanish answer is No,” said Esteban González Pons, an MEP for the ruling Popular Party. “Scotland must first become an independent country – if it wants to – and then start an application to join the EU with the same conditions as Serbia, for example,” he said.
— This is Catalonia (@ThIsCatalonia) March 16, 2017
The revelations concerning Scotland’s potential membership bill and Spain’s refusal to countenance special treatment – coupled with North Sea revenues collapsing and a fiscal deficit worse than Greece – have left the economic case for breaking up the UK in order to rejoin the EU in bad shape.
Figures released by the Scottish Office show that the British single market it worth far, far more to the Scottish economy than the EU, and the SNP will struggle to make any sort of business case for prioritising a Scottish bid for EU membership – which may not succeed – over preserving Scotland’s commercial relationship with the rest of the UK.
Scotland's strongest trading relationship is with the rest of the UK. pic.twitter.com/68ePtdLDT0
— The Scotland Office (@UKGovScotland) March 21, 2017
The British Isles were first united under a single head of state when James VI of Scotland inherited the throne of England in 1603.
He immediately began arguing for a British Union, arguing: “Hath not God first united these Two Kingdoms both in Language, Religion, and Similitude of Manners? Yea, hath he not made us all in One Island, compassed with One Sea?”
They were finally united in a single state – both the English and Scottish parliaments voted to merge – with Scotland preserving aspects of independence through a separate court system, education system, and so on.
This took place in 1707, meaning that Scotland has been part of the UK for longer than countries such as the U.S., Germany, and Italy have even existed.