Total value of exports from Scotland (excluding oil and gas):£81.4billion

Statistics for exports from Scotland have been published. Export Statistics Scotland 2017

These Statistics do not include figures for oil and gas revenue as these are collated as UK statistics and not as Scottish ones.

Oil and Gas Revenue

Oil and Gas revenues which went to the UK Government amounted to £1,188million for 2017 -2018. You can find all the information on that data here: Statistics of Government Revenues from UK Oil and Gas Production

Oil and gas fields in UK

Oil and Gas Fields

Laying aside the oil and gas revenues how well did Scotland’s other exports do?


  • rUK: £48.9billion
  • EU: £14.9billion
  • Non EU: £17.6billion
  • International: £32.4billion

Total value of exports from Scotland (excluding oil and gas – see above):£81.4billion

This is an increase of 5.2% –  the biggest rise in percentage terms was to the EU up by 13.3%.

What kind of exports are countries buying from Scotland? (excluding oil and gas)

Scotland’s quality food and drink is 18% (£5.9billion) of all our international exports. Most of this – 74%  – is from the Whisky sector (£4.4billion). Scotch whisky also makes up 20% of Food and Drink exports for the whole of the UK so it is an extremely important export. Scotch whisky is making £139 every second in export sales. Scotch Whisky Association

Remember in addition to its value in exports, Scotch whisky provides the UK Government with significant tax revenues. If we take £14.15 as the  average price of a bottle of Scotch Whisky, £10.41 is collected in taxation broken down as  £8.05 excise duty  and as VAT  £2.36 for the UK Exchequer

Scotland has a highly educated and skilled workforce and this is reflected in another major export –  professional, scientific and technical activities. This is worth £3.7billion.

Other major exports are refined petroleum,chemical products, mining and quarrying.

The wholesale and retail trade brings in £1.9billion- another important sector.

The diversity of Scotland’s exports is of huge importance to maintaining a strong economy. Excluding oil and gas, the main export to the rest of the UK is financial services and despite all the bad press about banks it is a growth sector. Hot on the heels of exports to rUK of financial services is electricity. This is quite different to Scotland’s international exports which are led by the manufacturing sector.


To put all this in context Scotland with its population of only 5,295,000 is a resource rich nation. These riches are to be found not only in its natural resources but within the skills of its people.

The Block Grant – Barnett

Revenue is collected by HMRC and this goes to the UK Exchequer. Out of this Scotland is allocated a portion of spending – known as the Barnett Formula. This is a Block Grant which changes from year to year. It is linked to spending in England – whatever increases or decreases in England the same % up or down is replicated for the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland now has some powers over taxation and it has used this to adjust rates in income tax levels. This affects the Block Grant allocated as any taxes raised and retained in Scotland will adjust what comes in from the Block Grant. You can find out more about The Barnett Formula by clicking on the link.

“The Scottish Government’s total budget is determined through the combination of block grant funding from HM Treasury, adjusted to reflect forecasts of receipts generated through taxes devolved to Scotland (through the Scotland Act 2012 and Scotland Act 2016), and planned use of available devolved borrowing powers” . Scottish Draft Budget 2018 – 2019

Sources of Government Funding

Scotlands Finances 2018

” Between 2010-11 and 2019-20 this (The Block Grant)  will fall by £2.6 billion in real terms and over the next two years alone we face real terms cuts of over £500 million in the block grant we receive for day-to-day spending.” Derek Mackay, Finance Minister, Scottish Government.

Statistics, especially at these mind blowing amounts, can be very confusing and trying to fathom out the economy of Scotland, a devolved administration within a unitary UK market is complicated. This is something again and again demonstrated when statistics are used out of context and without looking at the whole picture Scotland’s Health: “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”

What can be gleaned from all of this is that Scotland is a nation with  a strong export economy reaching far beyond its own shores or even that of the UK. As the UK prepares to exit the EU on 29th of March, perhaps with no deal, the effect on Scotland’s  export trade  and its economy will be significant. Perhaps one of the many reasons why the People of Scotland voted so overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame






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3 replies »

  1. So Scotland wants to remain in the eu that takes 18% of exports but wants to go independent to the rest of the uk that takes 60% of their exports.
    Really makes sense!!

    • So 5he UK is fighting hand over fist to still trade with the EU 27, that includes Ireland. But they would (NOT ) trade with an independent Scotland? Is that what you are supposed to have us believe?? That the UK would cut it’s own nose off to spite its own face.? In any case, if Scotland remains in the EU 27 Scotland would be come the 28th state. Now how would England implement such a trade embargo on Scotland. The fact is they would not be allowed to do such a thing… all scare story’s just like the , you can’t use the pound…….

  2. It does make sense Steve,

    Although a popular tagline among unionists, it doesn’t make any sense at all. An independent Scotland within the EU would not be taking away the 60% of rUK exports. As part of the EU Scotland would have the same trading agreement with rUK as the other 27 EU countries would have. This trading agreement, according to Westminster, would be the easiest agreement of all time…

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