First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the government is working to change the narrative around migration to persuade Scots that the nation needs huge numbers of people from abroad.
Speaking at the launch of a Scottish government paper which argues for continuing open borders with Europe after Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), the SNP leader claimed a population that is ever-expanding as a result of mass migration is “essential to our economic prosperity”.
The “stark reality” of an “ageing society”, Sturgeon argued, means she has “a duty to make the case for free movement no matter how difficult that is sometimes perceived to be”.
The First Minister’s plea for Scotland to remain in the Single Market and to have more liberal immigration controls than its southern neighbour, England, comes only a short time after research showed the majority of Scots would reject bespoke border controls after Brexit.
A detailed study published by the National Centre for Social Research last week found the majority of Scots surveyed are keen to leave the Single Market and have tighter restrictions on migrants post-Brexit, with two-thirds asserting the desire for Scotland to have the same immigration controls as the wider UK.
“Growing our population, and particularly our working age population, is perhaps the greatest national challenge that we face,” she announced.
“Over the past 15 years, EU migration has helped to turn around the long term decline in Scotland’s population and mitigate the impact of an ageing society. Over the next 25 years, our own projected birth rate will not be sufficient to grow our population.”
Politicians call for Wales to be turned into world's first migrant ‘sanctuary’. Did Welsh voters consent to this? https://t.co/63jaOA6Vwj
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) April 10, 2017
But analysis of previous suggestions that Scotland’s population must increase its economy to prosper has shown such claims to be false, with Migration Watch UK last year noting that “immigration as a solution to a pensions problem has been dismissed by all serious studies”, pointing out among other factors that “immigrants too will grow old and draw pensions”.
The migration policy watchdog said: “An ageing population is inevitable in Western societies where birth rates are low and health care is extending lives. However, this also means that it is possible to work for longer. Raising the retirement age is one of the most effective means of decreasing the dependency ratio.”
While Sturgeon warned Scots that their public services are at stake should the population not rise, migration-driven GDP growth has been described as a “Ponzi scheme” which lines bosses’ pockets at the expense of the environment and taxpayers’ quality of life.
The “underlying strategy” behind the pursuance of such policies is “to privatise the profits and socialise the costs incurred from increased population growth,” wrote Dr. Joseph Chamie, director of research at the Centre for Migration Studies.
Pointing out that while mass immigration results in increasing demand, consumption, borrowing, and profits, the former UN Population Division director said it leaves the general public left to pick up the tab for mounting costs for education, healthcare, housing, and crime.