SNP warns of slow population growth without migration powers
Scotland could have 500,000 more citizens by 2040 if population growth matched other small northern European countries, new SNP analysis reveals.
However, without being handed access to “key” migration powers, the SNP said Scotland’s population would only grow by 4.4 per cent by 2040.
The party has renewed calls for immigration powers to be devolved to combat what it labelled as an impending “demographic crisis” in Scotland.
The SNP said the “stunning figures”, which showed Scotland lagging behind population growth rates in Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland: “highlight fears that Scotland could face a demographic crisis in coming decades and struggle to pay for public services as our population ages”.
“It is increasingly obvious that Scotland needs our own powers over migration and the means to grow our population,” SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said.
“Scotland urgently needs to grow our population – or we face a demographic timebomb over coming decades that could make it seriously challenging to fund public services like the NHS.”
The analysis found Scotland’s population would increase by hundreds of thousands of people over the next 20 years, “if we matched the projected growth of our closest neighbours”.
The SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission figures revealed if Scotland had matched the population growth of other small European countries since 1980, its population would be 6.1 million.
Since 2016 the population has grown by 65,000 and currently sits at 5.47 million.