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Migration and Scotland

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:41 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Conservative, Forest of Dean 4:41 pm, 11th February 2020

First of all, I make no apologies for wanting people who are in the United Kingdom illegally to go back to their countries of origin. People should obey the rules and follow the law, and they should not be here when they shouldn’t be here. I make no apology for that.

The point I was making was that we need to look at the reasons why people may not be choosing to go to Scotland. One of the clear points made in the Scottish Government’s own paper, in which they look at the experience of Canada and Australia, is that it is the economic performance of countries that determines their attractiveness to migrants. I simply note that the United Kingdom’s economy is forecast to grow more quickly than Scotland’s over the next four years, according to both the independent Office for Budget Responsibility and the Scottish Fiscal Commission, which says that the Scottish economy will grow by less than 1% in 2019, less than 1% in 2020, just over 1% in 2021 and just over 1% in 2022—significantly lower than the projected growth rate for the United Kingdom. That suggests to me that if the Scottish Government were more effective in increasing the Scottish growth rate, more migrants may choose to go to Scotland.