Boosting population would help public services and the economy, politicians claim

SNP call for powers to increase Scotland’s population to boost economy 

THE POWERS TO ENCOURAGE MIGRATION TO SCOTLAND would provide a substantial boost to the national economy, according to an SNP MSP and a Scottish Government minister. 

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan has said that the urgent need for a Scottish solution to demographic growth is another reason for why “Scotland should be given the choice between Brexit and independence”. 

Calls for the full devolution of migration powers have been repeatedly rebuffed by the Tory Government at Westminster, which has instead ramped up anti-migrant rhetoric since the vote in England and Wales to exit the European Union. 

“Population growth is vital for the health of Scotland’s economy and public services.” Stuart McMillan MSP

Scotland, especially in comparison to England, has suffered from relative population stagnation following historic clearances and mass migration to other continents. 

More recently, figures have begun to shift. Last April it was announced that Scotland's population reached a record high of 5,373,000, up 25,400 in a year mainly due to continued migration. However, there are concerns that Tory Hard Brexit plans could now stunt population progress in Scotland.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said: “Population growth is vital for the health of Scotland’s economy and public services – but the UK government is determined to close the door on the workers our economy depends on. 
 
“The Leave campaign said that Brexit would mean Scotland would get powers over immigration – but that promise has been left on the £350m-a-week-for-the-NHS bus. Polls consistently show that people in Scotland support freedom of movement as part of our membership of the single market.
 
“This is yet another example of why Scotland needs the power to determine our own future – and why the people of Scotland should be given the choice between Brexit and independence.”

“As the Chamber of Commerce have identified, it is crucial that Scotland has an immigration system which enables businesses to attract and access the skills and talent required.” Alasdair Allan

In response to a parliamentary question, Scottish Government minister Alasdair Allan added: “It is essential that Scotland maintains its population growth to ensure that we have an appropriate demographic profile to sustain all of our population living full, supported and productive lives. 

“Stimulating population growth is a key driver of sustainable economic growth, and in Scotland, most of our population growth is supported by inward migration. We know that 90 per cent of the population increase in Scotland over the next ten years is projected to come from migration (57 per cent from net international migration and 32 per cent from net migration from the rest of the UK). 

“This is markedly different to the projections for the UK as a whole, where 51 per cent of the projected population increase over the next 10 years is due to natural change and 49 per cent is due to international migration. If current trends continue, net inward migration is projected to be the main contributor to Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years.
 
“As the Chamber of Commerce have identified, it is crucial that Scotland has an immigration system which enables businesses to attract and access the skills and talent required to boost Scotland’s long-term competitiveness and to support Scotland’s Economic Strategy.”

Picture courtesy of byronv2

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