LOCAL ECONOMY AT RISK FROM HOSTILE PROPOSALS SAY INDUSTRY LEADERS
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has said the UK Tory government’s controversial points-based immigration risks “devastating local businesses” and causing long-term harm to public services in Midlothian and East Lothian.
Unveiled earlier this week, Boris Johnson’s plan to block most European workers from entering the UK has come under fire from employers and industry leaders.
Reacting to the announcement, FSB Scotland Policy Chair Andrew McRae said: “when you consider that only 5% of Scottish small businesses have used the current immigration system, it’s no wonder small employers will be concerned at these plans. The system is notoriously complex and costly and few small businesses will be able to absorb high administration costs – or have the resources to prepare for new rules in ten months’ time. Scotland’s small employers have a greater reliance on EU workers than the UK average. These staff are central to the success of many businesses in Scotland and therefore it’s crucial that employers encourage them to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.”
A cross-party report by Holyrood’s Finance Committee previously warned that demographic changes could pose risks to Scottish public spending, and our ability to fund the NHS, if Scotland does not have powers to grow our population.
Now, the MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh has renewed calls for immigration powers to be handed to Holyrood – with the SNP’s proposals for a ‘Scottish Visa’ gaining the backing of a wide range of expert organisations.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Our local industries, public services and NHS here in Lothian are in danger. You simply can’t trust Boris Johnson - his government’s proposals will cause catastrophic damage for businesses in Midlothian and East Lothian and are completely out of touch with the needs of the Scottish economy.
“Industry and employers across the country recognise that getting the migration system right is absolutely vital for the future. As Scotland’s population grows older, we need the power to attract and retain the workers we need to fund our public services, and allow our economy to flourish.
“This is the stark reality of the Tories’ Brexit Britain. It’s now absolutely vital that the political parties and industry leaders come together to back the SNP’s plans for a tailored migration system which works for Scotland.”