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Migration and Scotland

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:16 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Flynn Stephen Flynn Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Treasury - Financial Secretary) 6:16 pm, 11th February 2020

It is a pleasure to speak in this debate, because it is an incredibly important one. Indeed, this is one of the defining issues of Scotland’s future, and I do not say that lightly. Andrew Bowie reflected upon one reason why this is such a huge issue for Scotland. For want of a better phrase, we face a demographic time bomb. We are fortunate that we have so many older folk who are living longer, but our working-age population is decreasing. There are two obvious solutions to that. The first solution is for people to have more babies—lots of them, and very soon. Obviously nobody can control that, but we do have control in relation to immigration.

We currently face a UK Government who have nothing but hostility towards migrants coming into this country. Simon Hoare said that we should wait and see, and that

“there is nothing to worry about.”

From my position, there is a lot to worry about. If he listened to the remarks of my hon. Friend Alison Thewliss or Wendy Chamberlain, he will know that the record of this Government when it comes to migration is utterly appalling. The manner in which people have been treated is disgusting. I am sorry if I am not willing to accept that things are going to get better just because the Conservatives say they will, but I simply do not believe that—the evidence says the complete opposite.

We have heard from No. 10 and No. 11 that the Government are seeking an Australian-style points system. But as my colleagues have pointed out this evening, the Australian system, however we look at it, allows for regional visas, and it does so to ensure that the system meets the needs of all the different areas of that country.