Constituency MSP for Argyll and Bute, Michael Russell, has said that the Tories’ “narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric” is to blame for a fall in the number of overseas workers coming to Scotland, and warned that this may cause damage to the economy and public services.

Latest figures from the DWP show an 18% drop in the number of National Insurance registrations by overseas workers coming to Scotland between 2015 and 2018.

Argyll and Bute has been hit with a 22% drop in migrant workers’ registrations since 2015.

The figures reinforce warnings that Argyll and Bute faces a demographic crisis that could hammer public services – as an ageing population leaves Scotland with fewer working-age taxpayers.

All of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration.

Analysis by the Scottish Government has found that Westminster proposals to cut migration to the tens of thousands would cost the Scottish economy up to £10 billion per year by 2040.

Commenting, Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said:

“The Tory government’s hostile approach to migration is failing Argyll and Bute.

“Their anti-immigrant obsession and narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric is driving people away from Scotland, and putting vital public services here in Argyll and Bute on the line.

“The simple fact is that without inward migration our working-age population will decline, making it harder to fund vital public services like hospitals and schools in the future.

“It is now imperative for Scotland to have the powers to set an immigration policy which suits our specific needs and recognises the huge benefits migrant workers being to our economy and society.”

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