UK

Forbes: UK migration policies are biggest challenge to Scottish economic growth

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister accused both Labour and the Tories of spreading an anti-migration rhetoric.

Kate Forbes has urged her opponents to develop a better migration strategy for Scotland
Kate Forbes has urged her opponents to develop a better migration strategy for Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister has warned that UK policies on migration are the “biggest challenge” for economic growth.

Kate Forbes accused the Conservatives and Labour of “ignoring” the needs of Scotland in the General Election campaign.

She urged whichever party forms the next UK government to work with the SNP to develop a “tailored migration system” to suit the specific issues facing Scotland’s energy, agricultural and tourism industries.

Ms Forbes said the proposals are “long overdue” as she accused her opponents of “ramping up” anti-migration rhetoric ahead of her appearance on the Holyrood Sources podcast.

The Deputy First Minister said: “Migration is possibly the biggest challenge facing Scotland’s economy right now – and it is unforgivable that every Westminster party is completely ignoring Scotland’s specific needs as they fight for right-wing voters in England.

“UK migration policies are actively harming Scotland’s economic growth and prosperity and a tailored migration system suited to Scotland’s specific circumstances is long overdue.

“The success of Scotland’s industries is reliant on migration, whether it be the energy sector, farming, fishing or tourism, yet every effort that has been made by the Scottish Government to find solutions has been dismissed by Westminster.

“As the anti-migration rhetoric ramps up from the Tories and Labour, the SNP is the only party that will demand meaningful action from the next UK government to meet Scotland’s economic needs and boost our public services.”

Scottish Tory finance spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “The SNP have blatantly ignored the fact that their high-tax regime is putting off people coming to Scotland.

“That is putting even more pressure on our overwhelmed public services which are bearing the brunt of the SNP’s financial mismanagement.

“SNP ministers should be looking closer to home when it comes to directing blame for Scotland’s sluggish economic growth.”

Labour has been asked for comment.