Scotland’s population now sits at a record high, but population growth has slowed for the second year running.

Tom Arthur MSP has highlighted concerns surrounding the reduced rate of population growth in Scotland, backing the Scottish Government’s warning that a ‘hostile environment’ at Westminster threatens migration.

According to statistics published today by the National Records of Statistics (NRS), Scotland’s population now stands at a record high of 5.44 million – the largest population ever in Scotland for the ninth year running.

In contrast, natural change (births minus deaths) did not contribute to Scotland’s population growth with 7,700 more deaths than births over the same period. This is the largest natural decrease on record.

Although Scotland’s population increased by 0.2% over the year, the rate of population growth has slowed for the second year running. This is due to a reduction in overall net migration (down 3,000 people from the year to mid-2017 – predominantly due to more people leaving Scotland to move overseas), an increase in the number of deaths (2,700 more than the year to mid-2017) and fewer births (1,200 less than the year to mid-2017).

This news comes just one month after Scottish Government analysis revealed 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, Tom Arthur MSP said:

“Despite Scotland’s population reaching a record high, these statistics are a reminder of the demographic challenges we face. By 2025, almost one quarter of the East Renfrewshire population will be aged 65 or over. As an ageing population leaves Scotland with fewer working-age taxpayers, it is increasingly vital to encourage and welcome inward migration to Scotland.

“Failing to do so, as perfectly illustrated by the Tory government’s hostile approach to migration, risks a demographic crisis that could hammer public services in Renfrewshire South.

Local businesses and communities depend on the contribution of migrant workers, and our immigration policy must reflect this. A tailored migration system which values all skills, works for business and supports public services across the country is the only way forward.”

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