Scotland continues to produce more than a quarter of the UK’s food and drink exports in 2017, with only one twelfth of the population. How much is it feeding the UK too?

Scotland’s 5.3 million population represents only one twelfth or just 8% of the UK’s total population of 65.6 million. From January to September 2017, UK food and drink exports increased 11.0% to £16.1bn against the same period in 2016.

Scottish food and drink exports rose to £4.3 billion in the same period. This suggests Scotland produced 26.7% of the UK’s food and drinks exports with only 8% of the population.

This alone indicates a very sustainable basis to underpin the economy of any independent country especially one that already has a long-standing overall trade surplus, massive renewable energy production and, oh, a few billion barrels of oil currently selling at over $60pb. These are just the ‘overseas’ exports from Scotland but how much do we ‘export’ to the rest of the UK? We do know that Scotland’s overall exports to the UK are around £50 billion and that 4.8% of that was food and drink. So that would be £2.4 billion’s worth.

If we can export a total of £6.7 billion’s worth of food and drink, I suspect that we are more than self-sufficient should we need to keep it all in some future crisis. I know, we’d be a bit drunk too if we had to keep all the whisky for some reason. However, see this UK government table showing its massive trade deficit in food:

3.4 UK trade in different food groups, 2016


Note that in 2016: ‘[T]he value of imports was greater than the value of exports in each of the broad categories of food, feed and drink except ‘Beverages’ which had a trade surplus of £1.35 bn, largely due to exports of Scotch Whisky.’

So, given the UK’s massive need for imported food and drink, it looks like our £2.4 billion’s worth of mostly salmon, beef and whisky is quite a small, if tasty, contribution to a hopelessly unsustainable economy.

15 thoughts on “Scotland continues to produce more than a quarter of the UK’s food and drink exports in 2017, with only one twelfth of the population. How much is it feeding the UK too?

  1. Clydebuilt December 10, 2017 / 11:36 am

    The target of all the lies is always the SNP. Rubbishing their record on Government. When the opposite is the truth. On just about every measure our Scottish Government is doing much better than other parts of the U.K.

    The SNP have always said they have to demonstrate competence in Government. Our Unionist media are working to make people think they are incompetent.

    Instead of seeing our parliamentary vehicle to independence being diminished daily

    The YES movement need (something to do) to counter the lies and set the record straight.

    Irrespective of how soon Indyref2 is we need a national campaign to counter the medias lies. Many benefits will flow from this.


    • johnrobertson834 December 10, 2017 / 12:15 pm

      Hopefully 4 to 5 years of further decline in the readerships and audiences for newspapers and TV will help


      • Clydebuilt December 10, 2017 / 2:04 pm

        I’m thinking we need to fire up the YES band wagon and run a short focused campaign to disabuse voters of the notion that the SNP are incompetent, being pumped out daily.

        Undermine it once , undermined for life. . . . A kin to an imunisation programme


  2. Robert Andrew December 10, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    Not being up to much with figures, I can’t help wondering if there’s some way to calculate how much of Scotland’s exports into the famous “UK internal market” are actually food. Can’t seen food or electricity exports to a rUK being in any serious way at risk – “We’d rather starve than eat Scottish produce with the lights on,” doesn’t sound plausible, does it?


    • johnrobertson834 December 10, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      Yes, they fought a bloody war with Germany and still love BMWs


    • gavin December 10, 2017 / 12:46 pm

      Like you Robert, I don’t know the data, but I would think a substantial % of our goods to England comprise–food, drink, electricity, gas, petrochemicals and their derivatives etc. While England will export to us, cars, white goods, services etc.
      If I am broadly correct, our goods would find a new market more easily than theirs given the level of international competitiveness: it being easier to sell to a discerning customer, prime beef/salmon/whisky than yet another “identikit” automobile.
      I think therefore we would get a trade deal from our southern friends pretty quickly—but we need this to be promulgated to Scots—LOUDLY!


    • Clydebuilt December 10, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      Robert aye I don’t see our exports to RUK being st risk after Indy. . . . However it’s what Scots believe that’s important, during the first Indy Ref. Better Together pumped the message that England would look to Cheap French Nuclear Electricity rather than expensive Scottish Renewables.

      Liked by 1 person

      • gavin December 10, 2017 / 4:26 pm

        While at the same time, negotiating a deal (Green Wire) to bring Irish wind energy across through Wales to England. This will cost Irish consumers not a penny, but Brit Nats were able to paint an independent Scotland with a huge cost overhang from renewables.
        As has probably been said, its not the facts that lost us the referendum, but the lack of facts.
        Indyref2 will require an on-the-ball unit to refute lies, inaccuracies and downright propaganda. And counter it with truth, even if the truth is not in our favour.

        “Truthiness” will conquer “Trumpisms” every day of the week!

        Except in the good ol’ US of A!——I know, I know, Clinton whopped the Donald by millions of votes, but……………………………………….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Andrew December 10, 2017 / 5:25 pm

        Oddly enough, there was an item on Radio 4 about correcting falsehoods, a university study, I think. The results suggested that rehashing a story often mixed up truth and lie in people’s afterthoughts to the extent the original lies just bedded in – alongside the truth if you were lucky. Were are strange, we humans.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert Andrew December 10, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    These days there’s a warm glow to be had from fall in the cost of Renewable vs. Nuclear, isn’t there?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clydebuilt December 10, 2017 / 9:14 pm

      There is from new build.


  4. Alasdair Macdonald. December 10, 2017 / 5:35 pm

    An important fact about food and drink is that it is substantially rooted in the land and waters of Scotland. Unlike, say, a production factory, it is not as ‘easy’ to close it down here and relocate it to elsewhere in rUK. The lochs, rivers, coastal waters, straths, hills are not easily transportable to, say, Kettering or Maidenhead.

    (Incidentally, I do not buy the unionist scare of manufacturers and service providers uprooting and moving south in the event of independence. There are pretty massive ‘inertia’ aspects, too, not least the home and family attachments of the skilled workforces).

    Like oil, gas, renewables, food and drink is one of the reasons why BRITAIN wants to hold on to Scotland. We make a NET contribution to the economy and the energy potential is one of the underpinnings of the pound sterling. Another reason, is the amount of marine territory associated with Scotland. Combining land and sea, Scotland comprises more than 50% of the UK territory.

    It is, literally, incredible to me why so many people who live in Scotland believe the ‘too wee, no very good, dependency culture’ trope. I think it has a great deal to do with the media, the school curriculum and the number of privately educated people from elsewhere in the UK who occupy many of the influential positions.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ROBERT LIDDELL December 11, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    Why do we always talk about our trade to England, what about their larger trade to us. Will they want to throw that away by being difficult with us, I do not think so as they will need all they can get if we are Indi.


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