Home | About | Donate

Scottish Government Decries "Devastating" Effect Post-Brexit Border Policy Will Have on Economy

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/19/scottish-government-decries-devastating-effect-post-brexit-border-policy-will-have

1 Like

There are some serious concerns in these immigration policies. They basically support business over people. Do nothing to curb inequality or environmental integrity. There are other stipulations in policy not mentioned in the article.

Scots would be smart to exit the UK and remain in EU.

1 Like

Ireland takes over N. Ireland by national vote and both Ireland, and Scotland, keep their membership in the E.U. The English never quit with the bantustaning of other supposed allies.
Just because the English have gone off the rails doesn’t mean these two countries must follow.

1 Like

Just to emphasise the de-population crisis of Scotland

Scotland faces future shortage of workers. Given Scotland’s peculiarities, including a lower birth rate than in all other parts of the UK, it needs immigration.

By 2041, Scotland’s pensionable-age population is projected to increase by 265,000, while the working-age population is seen rising only by 38,000. Since 1998, there had been an increase of 31 per cent in the number of people aged over 75 in Scotland, and a decline of 8 per cent in those under the age of 15.

Net migration from overseas, or inflows minus outflows, is forecast to decline substantially in the next few years. Experts commissioned by the Scottish government predicted in February that Scotland’s working age population would actually decline by 3 to 5 per cent over the next 25 years if the UK proceeded with proposals to end free movement of EU nationals.

EU migration to Scotland has to some extent offset the effects of an ageing population and one of the lowest birth rates in the developed world, says the paper by The David Hume Institute, titled ‘Wealth of the nation: Who will do the jobs?’. But overseas immigration, already lower than to England, has dropped sharply in recent years.

Jane-Frances Kelly, director of the David Hume Institute, said increasing immigration is important to sustaining the health of Scotland’s economy.

“We are sounding a warning signal for Scotland’s politicians and policymakers,” she sad. "We need to get to grips with the coming demographic crisis or Scotland’s economy will be severely affected.

The Scottish population is still continuing to grow but this is down to immigration, as the deaths outstrip births by 5,000 annually. Along with improved healthcare, this means that a greater proportion of older people make up the profile of the population. This puts increasing pressure on public services, with the latest figures showing that Alzheimer’s and dementia now account for more than one in every ten deaths in Scotland – double the rate of a decade ago. The most common cause of death was cancer, which accounted for 4,242 deaths – an increase of 5.9 per cent.

The working age population in Scotland’s rural areas will plummet by a third by 2046, new research has found. The very existence of communities in remote corners of the Highlands and islands is threatened by a “spiral of decline” caused by depopulation. A report by the James Hutton Institute found that “sparsely populated areas” - defined as those where fewer than 10,000 people can be reached within 30 minutes of travel - account for almost half of Scotland, but just 2.6 per cent of the population live there. It is these areas that are projected to lose more than a quarter of their population within the next 30 years, with Western Isles, Argyll and the Southern Uplands among the worst affected.

A detailed study of population figures by Michael Anderson of Edinburgh University shows that Scotland’s poor growth figures have less to do with mortality, poor health. Across Scotland the population is predicted to grow slightly but the increase would be entirely as a result inward migration, as deaths will outnumber births in each year. Western Isles, Argyll and Bute, Highland, Moray, Shetland and Orkney are all expected to witness a decline in the number of young people in the area, as well as rises in those above pensionable age, of up to 33% in the case of Moray.

The majority of councils will experience fewer births than deaths, leaving migration as the driving force behind the growth.

Official forecasts show that the number of people living in the Western Isles could drop by 14% over the next two decades, while the Outer Hebrides could also be hit by a 28% fall in the number of children – the largest decreases in Scotland. Argyll and Bute is also predicted to lose 8% of its population by 2039, the third highest reduction in the country. Highland, Moray and Orkney are among seven other areas where the population will rise, but the growth is expected to be made-up entirely of older people, putting additional strain on social care services. Aberdeenshire is expected to have had the third highest population growth in Scotland by 2039, increasing by 20%, with Aberdeen City due to rise by 17%. Much of the increase would again be among pensioners, particularly in Aberdeenshire.

“The implications for councils with a decreasing population include: fewer people to pay council tax, a lack of local workforce which may make the area less attractive to businesses, and low population figures making some local services harder to sustain.”

A Moray Council spokesman said: “We have known for some time that Moray is facing a ticking time bomb in terms of its increasing ageing population and the demands that will place on our care services."

The Scottish Government external affairs secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said: “This slowing of migration growth in is extremely concerning. All of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years – including our working age population - is projected to come from migration, yet these latest population statistics illustrate the significant demographic challenges that we are facing. We want Scotland to continue to be a welcoming, internationalist, progressive, diverse country. People from all over the world who choose to settle in Scotland make valuable contributions to our economy, public services and communities. They are vital to the growth of Scotland’s working age population and in turn, our future prosperity. Instead, the UK Government is pursuing policies which are projected to reduce net migration to Scotland by between 30-50% over the next two decades, completely disregarding our distinct needs."

A study of statistics from 1850 to the present day reveals that Scotland is the only country in western Europe where the home population is barely higher than it was 40 years ago.

Scottish population growth would go into reverse within a generation without EU migrants, according to new government projections. After more than two decades of decline, Scotland’s population has risen steadily since 2001, and in 2014 was estimated to be 5.35 million.

On current trends, including net migration from the EU of around 9,000 a year, the population is expected to grow to 5.7m in 2039, a rise of 7 per cent over 25 years. However if EU migration were cut to zero, the population would rise just 3 per cent. After peaking at 5.5m in 2033, it would then “gradually decline”, hitting 5.49m in 5039. If EU migration was halved, the population would grow five per cent to 5.59m by 2039, while if it was 50 per cent higher, it would grow nine per cent to 5.81m. Because migration is “concentrated among young adult ages”, changes have the greatest impact on the numbers of children and working age people, rather than pensioners. A reduction in EU migration would therefore lessen demand for some public services, such as schools, but would increase the burden on taxpayers to pay for an ageing population. Numbers of over-65s in Scotland are expected to grow by 53 per cent by 2039, rising from 311 per 1000 people of working age to 397 per 1000.

Scotland’s ageing population will struggle without the help of younger immigrants from other European countries. The Scotland of the future will need more immigrants. This is going to be true regardless whether an independent country or not. Scotland has a workforce which is ageing. Before long, the need to pay for the ever growing numbers no longer working by the efforts of the shrunken proportion still working will become a big social problem.

One answer would be a greater rate of increase in the native population, though it is hard to see how the long-term trend towards smaller families can be halted. Another answer is that emigration could be diminished though that again seems unlikely to happen. Another alternative would be to increase participation in economic activity by people such as young mums or OAPS. The white paper on Scotland’s future proposed a scheme of childcare is presented as a social measure but its real rationale was economic.

These measures, even in combination, would have more than a minor effect on the age-profile of the population and so of the workforce. The only thing that can change that reasonably quickly is immigration. At the turn of the 21st century the population of Scotland was stagnating in the way it had been for most of the 20th century. The total hovered just above five million, but threatened soon to plunge below that level and to carry on down. Only a few years later and we find not just that the population has kept above five million but also that it continues to rise and within a couple of decades is forecast to reach 5.7 million, the highest number that has ever lived in Scotland in the whole of its history. Immigration is what has made the difference. If we needed to rely only on the natural rate of increase, that is, the excess of native births over native deaths, then the population would still be stagnating, if not falling.

From various posts on the Socialist Courier blog of the Glasgow and Edinburgh branches of the Socialist Party.



The theory is that without cheap labor from abroad, farmers will employ locals on higher wages but as most Scots are townies, it is still unlikely such jobs where living on-site often in isolated communities will be popular and have many applicants. The only alternative is punitive policies to force local people into such work and we all know that unwilling workers does more damage than good.

Not to mention the rise in food prices because of the higher wages or the drop in farmers profits leading to cut back in workers and reduced output and shortages on the shelves.

It used to be a tradition in Scotland that much hotel and bar work was done by Australians and New Zealanders who were able to get working visas more easily. With the EU, they were displaced by those who came from Eastern Europe. Unlike the ex-white commonwealth, who returned home after a year or two, many EU settled which is the aim of the Scottish government to re-populate the many rural areas of Scotland. And they are also keen to educate and improve themselves and that social mobility often creates jobs for local people to take up.

This is the main objective for the Scottish government…to boost its future population. It wants increased immigration and new families.

Anecdotally, being useless at DIY, when I required plumbing or electric repairs, it was practically impossible to get someone to do small jobs around the house and when somebody did deign to accept, the quotes were sky-high. Competition from newcomers soon changed that monopoly. It brought down my living expenses and I am sure I talk for many working people without the requisite skills.

For some low-paid “unskilled” jobs such home-care, local people simply decline to accept the onerous tasks involved. You also require to be physically fit for such jobs and overall young healthy foreigners are more likely than one of the local people forced off invalidity into taking any job offered.

I knew a Filipina who suggested that British people aren’t suited for the industry because our culture doesn’t respect the elderly. Perhaps some truth as there is mounting number of cases of abuse of the old people in care-homes.

The language is not usually a problem since globally and in particular Europe English and is the second language for many. And once here those with rudimentary knowledge are eager to learn more. We are not talking about the proverbial Bangladesh grand-mothers refusing to speak anything but Bengali.

And yes exploitation of migrant workers such as over-charging for over-crowded accommodation takes place and most town councils have had to set up special departments to halt the practice of profiteering. When they try to intervene and offer housing, private property businesses massively overcharge the local authorities.

The government says it is pledged to improve training and re-train local people to make up for the gaps but work schemes for apprentices has a poor record in subsidising employers.

But the proof is in the pudding. We shall either see a decline in productivity within the economy or many sectors of it as some predict or a rise in wages for the unskilled as others suggest should happen in the competition for workers.

But as I hinted, I expect those filling those jobs won’t be because they are attracted to a new higher wage but will be facing sanctions and penalties on their unemployment benefit for refusing such work.

No doubt there will be lots of research and studies. We’ll have the answer not in decades from now but in a matter of a few years.