Scotland could lose more than £5 billion worth of exports to the European Union after a ‘hard’ Brexit, according Scottish Government analysis of independent research.

Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell said that many exports from Scotland to Europe had been growing rapidly in recent years.

“To stop this growth would be a severe blow to our long-term economic prospects,” he warned.

He seized on figures from the NIESR economic think-tank which predicts that service exports could fall dramatically if the UK leaves the EU’s Single Market.

For Scotland this would be equivalent to a £2.3 billion hit, the SNP government estimates.

The research also suggests that trade in goods could decline sharply, amounting to an additional £3 billion hit for the Scottish economy.

Mr Russell said: “Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and this is another report which shows the severe cost to jobs and exports if the UK Government removes Scotland from the Single Market against our will."

The Scottish Government is due to publish detailed proposals for Scotland to remain inside the Single Market even if the rest of the UK leaves within weeks.

A so-called ‘hard Brexit’ prioritises control over immigration and the UK’s border over membership of the Single Market.

At the weekend Business Secretary Greg Clark suggested that the UK wanted no tariffs, at least for some industries, selling to the EU.

But in the Commons he later admitted: “It is not in my gift to offer tariff-free access to the single market. I was describing what would be a positive outcome from the negotiations.”