ARGYLL and Bute's economy stands to lose at least £170 million as a result of the UK's vote to leave the European Union, new analysis has revealed.

Research by the London School of Economics forecasts that even in the event of a Brexit transition deal being struck, the Argyll and Bute economy will shrink by 2 per cent.

And if no deal is reached the LSE's analysis predicts that the area's economy will be twice as badly hit, losing an estimated £350m.

The research found that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Scotland's economy as a whole will lose nearly £30 billion over five years.

Helensburgh's MP, Brendan O'Hara, said: “Only last week, my colleague Ian Blackford MP, challenged the Prime Minister on the UK Government analysis of the impact of Brexit. “It seems once again we’re having to rely on third parties to clarify the bombshell that a hard Brexit would mean - not just for Scotland or the North East, but now we’re seeing just how devastating this could be for Argyll and Bute.

“Time and time again the Tory UK Government is playing fast and loose with Scotland’s economy. Scottish businesses now deserve to hear the truth of Theresa May’s analysis and the hefty price we will pay for Brexit.

“We need a single market deal that works for Scotland and we need a guarantee of that deal now.”

Local MSP Jackie Baillie added: "The Tory Government’s reckless approach to the Brexit negotiations is putting our local economy at risk.

"The only way to protect local jobs and businesses is to retain membership of the single market and the customs union."

Argyll and Bute Council leader Aileen Morton added: "While it’s still not clear what will happen as Britain leaves the EU, Brexit has the potential to have significant impact across Argyll and Bute.

The council has set up an informal sounding board to consider some of the issues that are coming up and which will potentially hear from some of the industries which have concerns about their future.

"The board will also be looking at how do we make sure equivalent funding is still available to this area after Brexit. For example, the council recently launched the Money Skills Argyll project which aims to support people in financial difficulty and has substantial EU funding support."

The LSE's research also predicts that neighbouring West Dunbartonshire will be among the council areas worst hit by the vote last year to leave the EU.

Only Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow will suffer more in the five years after the UK's exit, the study claims.