Brexit and the Glasgow City Region

Leaving the European Union (EU) represents the greatest change to the UK, Scottish and Glasgow City Region economies in a generation.

It will impact the way we trade and it will alter patterns of investment and the supply of workers. By no longer being tied to EU rules, future economic, social and environmental policy may look quite different.

Many of the impacts are hard to assess. A great many will be relatively subtle but long-lasting. In our view, Brexit will act as a significant headwind for the Glasgow City Region economy over the long-term

But as with any change, there will be winners and losers. The risks and opportunities could look quite different for individual sectors and companies. It is also important to recognise that the Glasgow City Region has overcome significant economic challenges in the past. How the City Region responds – across its public, private, third sector and education sectors – will have a profound impact on the region’s long-term growth prospects.

The aim of this short report is to provide a summary of our understanding of the possible implications for the Glasgow City Region from Brexit.

Key Findings

  • Exports to the EU are estimated to support over 130,000 jobs in Scotland through direct demand and wider spill-overs into the Scottish economy.
  • Based upon an illustrative apportionment of such activity across Scotland’s regions, we estimate that the Glasgow City Region makes up around 40,000 of these jobs – with almost 20,000 jobs in Glasgow City alone.
  • Particularly important for the Glasgow City Region are services exports, which account for two-thirds of the jobs supported by EU demand in the region.


The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) is a leading economy research institute based in the Department of Economics at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.