Sturgeon urges devolution of immigration powers calling UK policy ‘disaster’

Scotland’s First Minister has said immigration powers should be devolved, calling UK-wide policy on the issue a “disaster”.

During a campaign visit to Stirling on Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon is expected to say that regardless of what happens over Brexit, Scotland should control its own borders.

Last month, Scotland’s Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop made a similar plea to Westminster after statistics showed there would be 240,000 more pension-age Scots over the next 25 years.

The National Records of Scotland release also showed a decline of 7,000 in the working-age population during the same period.

According to the Scottish Government, if EU migration to Scotland is halved by 2040, the country’s GDP would drop by 4.5% – the equivalent of £5 billion a year.

Ms Sturgeon (pictured) is expected to say the UK Government not recognising Scotland’s “unique circumstances” would be a “disaster” for the country.

The First Minister will say: “The SNP’s preference is for Scotland to remain in the EU and to keep freedom of movement.

“A vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.

“But no matter what happens with Brexit, we need a migration system fit for purpose and fit for Scotland’s needs.”

She will add: “Leaving the EU and ending freedom of movement will not only be bad for our economy and our public services but will deprive Scots of our rights to live and work across Europe.

“For too long the Westminster parties have been dancing to Nigel Farage’s tune on migration.

“Both the Tories and Labour are determined to impose a one size fits all approach – but UK immigration policies do not take into account Scotland’s unique circumstances.

“This approach will be a disaster for Scotland – it will send our working-age population into decline, threatening tax revenues and cause serious staffing shortages in our NHS.

“The NHS can’t afford for powers over migration to be left in Westminster’s hands.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Brian Lawless / PA Wire.