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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21858: Emma Harper (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 27 February 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what impact reduced levels of immigration as a result of Brexit could have on Scotland’s public services.

Answered by: Ben Macpherson 13 March 2019

The UK Government proposal to end free movement will significantly reduce the number of people coming to Scotland to live, work and study. The recently published independent report of the Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population estimates a reduction in net migration to Scotland of between 30% and 50% over the coming two decades if the UK Government puts in place the measures set out in its White Paper on immigration.

Key services, such as health and social care, depend on EU workers to make up a significant proportion of their workforce. A reduction in migration to Scotland of the level suggested in the White Paper will have severe consequences for Scotland's public services. A 5% decline in Scotland's working age population, as the Expert Advisory Group estimates, will reduce the number of workers available to fill roles, affect the Scottish Government's abilities to raise revenue for public services, and therefore increase the challenge of managing the consequences of an ageing population.