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South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine, has slammed UK Government migration plans and called on Tory MPs David Mundell and Alister Jack to back a separate Scottish visa system.

The call comes as the Federation of Small Businesses released a report that claims the proposals could result in the closure of dozens of businesses across the region. They claim difficulties in recruiting EU workers will be to blame and say they now support the Scottish visa plan.

The National Farmers Union Scotland agree. They say the proposals will put farms at risk because employers won’t be able to access sufficient staff. The claims are backed up by The Scottish Tourism Alliance who say the proposals are now the “biggest threat” to tourism in Scotland. UNISON, meanwhile, say the proposals will spell “absolute disaster” for care services.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,

“The Dumfries and Galloway economy is more dependent on the food and drink, tourism and care sectors than almost anywhere else in Scotland so it’s alarming to hear reports that these sectors will be some of the worst hit by the migration plans.

“The UK Government is proposing just 10,000 places on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme. That falls woefully short of the 70,000 seasonal workers needed by farms across the UK.

“The new report by the Federation of Small Businesses says the Tory proposals could result in the closure of up to one in five businesses across Scotland. Given that we’re more reliant on the sectors that will be worst hit, the impact on our local economy could be even more devastating.

“It’s clear that the only way to protect our businesses now is for Scotland to have its own visa system, separate from the rest of the UK. It’s time our local MPs got their heads out the sand and got behind the plan.

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