NICOLA Sturgeon will today warn Theresa May that anything short of Scotland staying a member of the European single market could “devastate” the nation’s economy as she prepares to unveil her EU options paper.

After a 10-minute telephone call between the two leaders and ahead of the publication of “Scotland’s Place in Europe” this morning, the First Minister said: “Being part of the European single market is vital for Scotland’s future economic wellbeing and losing our place in the single market would be potentially devastating to our long-term prosperity, to jobs, investment and people’s livelihoods.

“It would end our current status as part of the world’s biggest free trade area, a market around eight times bigger than the UK’s alone, and would have a profound and long-lasting impact on our national economic standing and our standards of living.”

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Ms Sturgeon pointed to analysis, which suggested leaving the single market in a hard Brexit, “threatened by the right-wing Brexiteers in the Tory Party,” could cost Scotland around £11 billion a year by 2030, a loss of 80,000 lost jobs and a cut in average earnings of around £2,000 per person after a decade.

She added: “But it is not just the loss of existing jobs and investment that would be at stake. In addition, there is the prospect of lost investment and employment; money and jobs which our place in the single market would ensure but which would otherwise never materialise.”

At Westminster, the Prime Minister told MPs that when she took the call from the SNP leader she “assured her that we will look very seriously at the proposals that the Scottish Government is bringing forward”.

She added: "I welcome the fact that they have been looking at their priorities. We've been encouraging all the devolved administrations to look at their priorities, so that they can be taken into account in the UK negotiations on leaving the European Union."

The EU options paper has been produced with the advice of a 19-strong team of experts, headed by Professor Anton Muscatelli, the principal of the University of Glasgow.

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It will set out proposals about how Scotland could remain in the single market without the rest of the UK, involving a substantial transfer of new powers to Holyrood after Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

Michael Russell, the Scottish Government minister involved in the intergovernmental talks with the UK Government, has talked up the Norway option, whereby the Scandinavian country abides by the so-called “four freedoms” of the single market – involving people, goods, services and capital - but does not have power in the decision-making process.

However, such an option would fail one of Ms Sturgeon’s five key tests to protect Scotland’s interests within Europe, which she set out in the summer following the referendum result.

While Mrs May has promised to give “full and proper consideration” to the Scottish Government’s options paper, her administration has already ruled out countenancing a separate deal for Scotland.

On a recent visit to Edinburgh, Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, dismissed such a prospect as “not realistic”, while his colleague David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, conceded it might be possible for Scotland to have a “differentiated option” within the UK Brexit strategy but also categorically ruled out any separate Scottish deal. Meantime, Robert Goodwill, the Immigration minister, has dismissed the call by the FM for Holyrood to have more powers over immigration.

At Westminster, the PM, in a statement on the recent European Council, told MPs that her aim was to “cement the UK as a close partner of the EU once we have left,” achieving the “kind of mature, co-operative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy”.

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But Jeremy Corbyn claimed the “shambolic” Tory Government’s approach meant the PM and Britain were becoming “increasingly isolated".

“The mixed messages from your frontbench only add to the confusion. This Government fails to speak for the whole country. Instead we hear a babble of voices speaking for themselves and their vested interests," said the Labour leader.

Angus Robertson for the SNP noted how the publication of his colleague’s EU options paper represented the first Government to publish its plans in detail and urged the PM to “seriously engage” Edinburgh and “commit to meeting the First Minister to incorporate priorities of the Scottish Government in the UK negotiating position”.