Economic Benefits

“The Weir Group is in favour of the UK’s continued membership of the European Union. It is a position based on economics not politics. There is an argument for the EU to perform better but not for the UK to withdraw from such a successful economic partnership. ” – Keith Cochrane, CEO engineering giant, Weir Group

Working man with hard hat Welder Welding





Over the last forty years Scotland’s businesses, organisations and people have benefitted from our being part of the EU, the world’s largest economy and trading area, capable of competing with advanced economies across the globe.

One of the EU’s key achievements is a shared arrangement between the 28 Member States to establish a single market (sometimes also called the ‘internal’ market), its main economic engine.

Today the EU is the world’s largest single market, comprising over 500 million people and 20 million businesses. Within the Single Market the free movement of goods, services, capital and people is assured – the so-called four freedoms – and provides a massive boost for the Scottish economy, delivering jobs, investment and a huge market for our exports.

The EU’S Global Influence (World GDP levels in 2012):

3.4% 11.5% 22.3% 22.9%

As a member of the Single Market our companies can sell to any other EU country, without paying import or export tariffs or having to obtain regulatory approval, and can invest wherever they wish within its borders.

We can also travel, study, live, shop, do business, work and retire in any EU country and those coming here from other EU countries make a positive contribution to our economy and society (see Freedom of Movement).

Consumers also benefit from access to the wider range of products available across the EU, while greater competition between suppliers helps keep prices down and ensures the consumer gets the best possible value for money.

  • 336,000 – The number of jobs in Scotland it is estimated are supported by our exports to the EU, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. This amounts to around 13% of the total Scottish workforce. (Download the reporthere.)
  • 42% – The EU was the destination for 42% of Scotland’s total international exports in 2014 – worth £11.6 billion that year, according to the Scottish Government’s figures. International exports from Scotland have now increased by 17.3% since 2010, more than the 15.9% increase for the UK as a whole.
  • 45p – The cost of EU membership per day – a lot less than most people think
  • £3,000 – The amount per household EU membership is worth according to the Confederation of British Industry. This is due to all the trade, investment, jobs and lower prices that come from our partnership with the EU. Membership is worth c. 4%-5% of UK GDP, or 62bn-£78bn, roughly the size of the economies of NE England and Northern Ireland combined. (Download the report here.)
  • £340 – The annual net contribution to the EU per household. Given these figures families are making close on a 10-to-1 return on their investment in the EU.
  • £450 – The amount, according to the European Commission, saved by each consumer per year through membership of the EU. This is because EU membership drives down the price of goods and services through increased competition. Download document here.