Independent Scotland 'should offer tax breaks to attract skilled migrants', says SNP-backed study

Posted On: 
25th May 2018

Generous tax breaks should be offered to highly-skilled migrants to encourage them to live and work in an independent Scotland, according to a landmark report.

Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed the SNP growth commission.
PA Images

The SNP-backed Growth Commission, led by former nationalist MSP Andrew Wilson, will finally publish its findings on the economics of independence later today.

It will set out a 'Come To Scotland' package containing measures aimed at increasing immigration and boosting the size of the Scottish population.

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They include so-called "transition relief" to reduce the income tax paid by foreign workers, increasing support for entrepreneurs and an aim of retaining 5,000 international students a year in Scotland.

Mr Wilson said: "We have a great opportunity for Scotland to strike a completely different tone on a vitally important area of economic policy – how we attract talent to our country.

"For the next 25 years all of Scotland’s projected population growth is expected to come from migration. Under current UK policy there is a real danger that the working population in Scotland could fall – meaning fewer people creating wealth, jobs and contributing to our NHS.

"Growing our working population and, through it, our economy is perhaps the greatest national challenge we have – and is made even more urgent by Brexit and the threat it poses to our working age population. Scotland needs more migration to drive our economy forwards and we need to extend a friendly welcome to international talent."

The report will also predict that independence could boost Scotland's economic growth, delivering a £4,100 boost for everyone living in the country.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said the call for tax breaks showed that Scottish workers already pay too much money to the state.

And Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: "The SNP should learn from the chaos of separating us from Europe with Brexit. On the back of Brexit, independence would be a negative and damaging development."