Lorry Driver and Fuel Shortages (Discussions with United Kingdom Government)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 28th September 2021.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

There is a substantial point in Siobhian Brown’s question. We are facing acute shortages of labour in a range of sectors in the Scottish economy. Siobhian Brown mentioned the social care sector, which is an important sector in which it is difficult to recruit the necessary number of staff to support the patients and individuals whom we require to support. That is because of the choices that have been made in the implementation of the Brexit agreement and, in particular, the abolition of the free movement of individuals.

We are arguing that the previous European temporary leave to remain scheme should be implemented immediately, to allow European Union citizens to stay and work in the UK for up to three years. That is in addition to the proposals that I set out in my earlier answer on the steps in relation to the recruitment of staff. We need active measures that will overcome the damage that is being done by the abolition of free movement, and we need action to be taken immediately by the United Kingdom Government, recognising that immigration and migration are reserved issues.