During today’s debate on inward migration in Scotland and the UK as a whole, Stuart McMillan MSP confronted the Tories with figures highlighting how Scotland has benefited from EU nationals living and working here – contrary to their rhetoric on the topic.
The debate was on the Scottish Government’s motion supporting the evidence given to the Migration Advisory Committee which demonstrates the positive contribution of European citizens to Scotland’s communities and economy, and Mr McMillan was one of many MSPs to address the impact Brexit is having on Scotland, and the UK’s, ability to attract and retain EU staff following the vote.
Commenting, the Greenock and Inverclyde MSP said:
“EU nationals contribute an average of £34,000 to GDP and their employment rate is higher than that of Scots. Over a third of EU workers in Scotland also have a degree level qualification or higher. It’s clear then that these workers are not scroungers here to just receive free health care and benefit from our education system – they are here to be fully participating citizens and therefore play a vital role in many of our key sectors, particularly in our food and drink industry.
“The Brexit vote has posed significant uncertainties for EU nationals working in the UK, and consequently there are some that don’t feel welcome. One in five European doctors working in our NHS are planning to leave Britain according to the British Medical Association, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council has reported a 96% in the number of EU nationals registering as nurses and midwives in the UK since the EU referendum.
“It’s of the utmost importance that the Scottish Parliament is a united front against Westminster’s Brexit chaos and demands that the UK Government provides clarity for EU nationals working and living in Britain, and that their rights are respected.
“More so than this, the benefits EU nationals bring to the UK should not only be recognised but welcomed. Instead their contributions are disregarded leaving them feeling alienated as a result, which in turn is making them desperate to leave Britain.
“This is in no way helpful for the Scottish or UK economies. The Tory Brexit shambles is having a detrimental effect already and will only get worse whilst the Tories continue to fight each other instead of bringing forward a cohesive deliverable plan.”