Readers' letters: Export decline shows disaster of Brexit

" It appears that the “sunlit uplands” we were promised that Brexit would deliver are maybe not as sunlit as we were led to believe”

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 8:00 am
Boris Johnson's policies are at odds with his jocular image, says Kenny MacAskill (Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)

Export decline shows disaster of Brexit

The latest statistics indicating that the UK is the only country among its close European neighbours to have a negative trade balance on exports since the Brexit vote should hardly come as a surprise as we progress with a catastrophic act of national self-harm.

It was what those against Brexit like myself warned about, but were consistently told by those such as Mr Johnson and his Brexiteer cabal that Brexit would in fact boost trade.

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The figures from the House of Commons Library show that the UK has seen a 5.5 per cent decrease in its exports since the 2016 referendum when the country voted to leave the European Union. This is estimated to have cut Scotland’s GDP by up to £9 billion by 2030 compared to the considerable advantages of EU membership.

The data shows that Ireland has seen the biggest increase in its export trade balance of almost 50 per cent from 2016 to 2021, while France has recorded a surplus of 6.7 per cent and Germany had a positive trade balance of 9.5 per cent over the same same-year period. When the impact of the Covid-19 is taken into account, and figures compared from 2020, the UK’s accumulated change of -19.3 per cent is the worst when compared to 13 of its close European neighbours.

Data shows that in the first four months after the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973, the pre-cursor for the European Union, the total value of the country’s goods exports increased by 16 per cent compared to the first four months of the previous year. In the first four months of 2021, the total value of UK goods exports fell by 11 per cent compared to the first four months of 2020.

It appears that the “sunlit uplands” we were promised that Brexit would deliver are maybe not as sunlit as we were led to believe.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Spotlight on the dangers of diabetes

For many people living with diabetes, hypos are a part of life. But they can be scary and dangerous, and can lead to blurred vision, confusion, seizures and in severe cases, unconsciousness and coma.

So, to mark Hypo Awareness Week (13-19 September), Diabetes Scotland wants to shine a spotlight. Hypos (short for hypoglycaemia) can affect people with type 1 diabetes, as well as many with type 2 who use insulin or certain other diabetes medications.

A hypo is when blood sugars drop too low. It can be dangerous if not treated immediately as the brain does not have enough energy to work properly. It can happen for various reasons, including taking too much insulin, missing a meal or miscalculating carbs.

If someone tells you they have diabetes and are having a hypo, help them to find a sugary drink or sweets, but if they become unconscious call an ambulance. If you have diabetes and are experiencing frequent hypos, speak to your healthcare team who can support you to make changes to your medication.

Everyone has different symptoms, but the most common are feeling shaky; disorientated; sweating; anxious or irritable; going pale; palpitations and a fast pulse; lips feeling tingly; blurred vision; hungry; tearful; tiredness, having a headache or lack of concentration. Visit

Angela Mitchell, Director, Diabetes Scotland.

Council priorities

Chris Stewart (News, 6 September) is, of course, quite right that the council needs to do more to repair our broken pavements and collect refuse, but is this realistic when our wise and prudent leaders have to find £200 million for the basic necessity of a tram extension?

Michael Upton, Edinburgh.