Last week it was revealed that the difference between the number of people dying and being born in the region has increased by more than a third in just one year. In 2017, there were 1986 deaths registered, compared to 1248 registered births. Across Scotland there were 5,000 more deaths than births in 2017.
The Scottish Parliament voted in favour of devolving powers over migration earlier this year – yet the Tory government continues to keep power over this area at Westminster.
The recent Sustainable Growth Commission report outlined the need for Scotland to grow its population as a way of boosting economic growth across the country, now and in the future.
Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“The Tories’ approach to migration is costing Scotland – and Dumfries and Galloway – dearly.
“Their ‘hostile environment’ and hard Brexit are driving people away from Scotland, making it so much more difficult for us to attract the people that we need to come here and work in our communities.
“Our region needs migrants to come and contribute to our local economy. For example, a hugely disproportionate number of skilled workers from EU members states work in Dumfries and Galloway’s thriving dairy industry – and many more contribute hugely to our health service. There are also serious concerns being voiced about the threat to seasonal labour – which is very important to the continued success of the region’s food and drink industry – post Brexit.
“As was outlined in the recent Sustainable Growth Commission report, migrants and population growth will play a key part in growing Scotland’s economy. The Tories can give Scotland these powers over migration sooner rather than later, as the Scottish Parliament demanded earlier this year.
“We need the power to develop our own migration system in order to attract more people to live and work here – it’s time the UK government gave us the power to do just that.”