News

Population Taskforce tackles demographic challenge

Published: 06 Oct 2021 00:01

Cabinet Secretary to press for UK Government action.

Scotland’s demographic challenges are to be tackled by the Population Taskforce.

Scottish Government ministers from across multiple portfolios will plan how to ensure Scotland’s population supports communities and drives sustainable economic growth for the whole country.

The taskforce, chaired by Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Angus Robertson, will today discuss the current labour shortages in hospitality, distribution, social care, construction, food production, agriculture and tourism.

Mr Robertson will also meet the UK Immigration Minister Kevin Foster and he will restate the need for a series of urgent changes, including the opening of a new Temporary Worker Route.

Cabinet Secretary Angus Robertson said:

“There could not be a more urgent time to reconvene the Population Taskforce – we can see how the impact of Brexit and the inadequate UK immigration system is causing damage in our economy and society.

“I will be impressing on the UK Government’s Minister for Immigration today that time is of the essence, and the changes we request need to be put into place now.

“It is clear that Brexit, and the ending of free movement, has contributed to the problems we are seeing today. Any suggestion that such migration depressed wages is disappointing and inaccurate – in fact analysis of the impact of European migration on the UK Labour market by the UK Government’s own Migration Advisory Committee found that immigration was not a major factor in wage growth.

“Freedom of movement, in fact, was a benefit for our economy and our society – and its removal has contributed to the issues that now need an urgent response, not sudden UK Government policy switches used as temporary sticking plasters.

“Scotland has its own distinct immigration requirements, which are different from the rest of the UK, as all of our future population growth is projected to come from inward migration. That is just one reason the UK Government’s hard Brexit will be so damaging to Scotland, and why measures such as the opening of a 24 month Temporary Worker Route should be implemented immediately.”

Background

The Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs has written to the Home Secretary outlining a series of proposed changes to the immigration system. Changes to the immigration rules: letter from the Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs to the Home Secretary - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

The MAC analysis is included in the Scottish Government’s Migration paper which is published on the Scottish Government website: Migration: Helping Scotland Prosper (www.gov.scot)

The original MAC analysis has also been published online (EEA Report, PDF, 2.2MB):  Final_EEA_report.PDF (publishing.service.gov.uk)

The Population Taskforce is tasked with delivering the vision of a population programme to make communities across Scotland attractive places to live, work, bring up families and to move to, so that Scotland’s population profile provides a platform for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Information on the Taskforce has been published on the Scottish Government website: Population Taskforce - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)