Scottish voters urged to rally in defence of UK's EU membership


Scotland could hold the key to keeping the UK in the European Union and businesses must "stand up and be counted" to prevent an exit, a leading Liberal Democrat peer has warned.

Lord Menzies Campbell, head of the European Movement in Scotland, said Scottish businesses need to "get off the sidelines" in the Brexit debate.

Treasury analysis on the cost of an EU exit says the UK's national income could be 6% smaller - the equivalent of £4,300 a year per household - by 2030.

More than 330,000 Scottish jobs are dependent on EU exports, almost half of Scotland's international exports go to the EU and Scotland attracts more foreign investment than anywhere in the UK outside London, Lord Campbell said.

He said: "It is vital that Scottish businesses get off the sidelines and ensure that they raise their concerns over an exit and highlight what the bigger picture of our EU membership means to them.

"As part of the largest single market in the world, our businesses are able to trade freely across the 28 nations of the EU and we are a focus for inward investment, in part due to our membership of the EU.

"However, the Scottish Chamber of Commerce has already highlighted how 'fragile' the Scottish economy is and withdrawal from the EU will damage our economic recovery.

"With the vote so close across the UK, Scotland could hold the key to the outcome of this referendum and it is vital that all who recognise our future as EU members stand up and be counted.

"The business community has a key role to play here and would urge those who benefit from and see our future as being members of the EU not to sit on the sidelines and see us sleepwalking to Brexit, but to stand up and be counted."