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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-17418: Tom Mason (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 22 June 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the Scottish Fiscal Commission's view that "there is limited room for population growth…to contribute further to economic growth."

Answered by: Derek Mackay 16 July 2018

The Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) forecast that there is limited room for population growth to contribute further to economic growth because total population growth in Scotland is expected to slow in the coming years. Furthermore, the population aged 16-64, which make up most of the working age population, is expected to start to shrink from 2018 onwards. This is expected to place a particular drag on growth in GDP in Scotland.

One of the factors that risks limiting population growth going forward, is lower international migration growth. The contribution of migration to Scotland's economy and demographic profile is crucial, and relatively more important than it is to other parts of the UK. Powers over migration are reserved to the UK Government, however it is increasingly clear the UK Government’s immigration policy does not address Scotland's economic, demographic and social needs. As such, the case is overwhelming for the Scottish Government to be able to set the rules for migration in a way that will attract and retain people with the skills we need.