Nicola Sturgeon: Case for Scottish immigration system now "overwhelming"

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 16 January 2018 in News

Speaking in Edinburgh the First Minister will argue that, with immigration essential to maintaining Scotland’s population, “the case for a different approach here is, to my mind, overwhelming”

Image credit: PA

The case for Scotland having a differentiated immigration system from the rest of the UK is now “overwhelming”, according to Nicola Sturgeon.

Speaking in Edinburgh this evening, after a new Scottish Government analysis suggested a hard Brexit could cost the Scottish economy up to £12.7bn per year by 2030, the First Minister will argue that, with immigration essential to maintaining Scotland’s population, “the case for a different approach here is, to my mind, overwhelming”.

Describing Theresa May’s Brexit strategy as “in a state of complete chaos”, Sturgeon will also accuse her UK counterparts of “a wilful denial of the complexity of Brexit”.

Analysis in the Scottish Government paper, Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment, highlighted the importance of inward migration from the EU to Scotland’s economy, with each additional EU citizen working in Scotland currently contributing an average of £10,400 in tax revenue.

It showed that a so called ‘Canada-type’ deal with the EU would still leave Scotland’s GDP £9bn lower by 2030, costing around £1,610 per head.

The FM is expected to say: “The Prime Minister, meanwhile, continues to suggest that no deal is a viable option for the UK – without acknowledging that no deal is, almost by definition, a terrible deal.

“We are consistently told that the UK can have everything it wants – regulatory flexibility, the freedom to strike trade deals with other countries and the full benefits of the single market – despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

“2018 is the year when that rhetoric will finally meet reality. On every issue of substance so far where some decision has been taken – for example the timetable for talks, and settling the UK’s budget obligations – the UK Government has set out a completely unrealistic starting position, and then been forced to capitulate.

“That seems almost certain to happen again this year if they stick to unrealistic positions. Far better, surely, to stop wasting time and squandering goodwill and instead embark on these negotiations with a sensible and credible position at the outset.”

“In the view of the Scottish Government, that sensible – the only sensible post Brexit position – is continued membership of the single market and customs union.”

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