Support for transfer of immigration powers to Holyrood

Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Jane Barlow
Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Most people want te Scottish Parliament to take control of immigration policy, a survey suggests.

Two-thirds support the transfer of the power from Westminster, including almost half of those who plan to vote against independence, according to the Survation poll.

Immigration is a feature of the Scottish Government’s plan for independence.

The White Paper on Scotland’s future calls for a points-based system to take account of the country’s “differing demographic and migration needs”.

Labour, which revealed its alternative proposals for more devolution on Tuesday, argues that the responsibility should remain reserved to Westminster because it is among policies “key to the maintenance of the union”.

Green MSP Alison Johnstone, whose party commissioned the poll, said: “There is a huge economic opportunity for Scotland if we have control over immigration policy. It’s significant that even those opposed to independence at this stage appear to see the potential.

“Our digital technology, tourism, renewable energy, science and food sectors are all starting to take off. With a more welcoming policy we’d have a better chance of addressing any skills shortages, in turn generating tax revenue to support public services.

“In recent days, Gordon Brown, Menzies Campbell, David Cameron and Johann Lamont have failed to address the need to give Scotland control over how it welcomes the world. It’s clear to me the only option on the table that will deliver the approach we need is a Yes vote in September.”

The poll shows 66.3% agree that MSPs should control immigration. Almost all Yes voters and 41.2% of No voters back the transfer.

Just over 20% want immigration to remain at Westminster, including 39.8% of No voters.

Just over 1,000 people aged over 16 in Scotland were asked the question by Survation over March 6-7.