Poll: More Scots think immigration levels too high, but SNP says Scotland ‘welcome to all’

The SNP has said Scotland remains a “welcoming home for all” despite a new poll finding a growing number of Scots believe that too many people are entering the UK.
Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party. Picture: Andy Buchanan / AFP /Getty ImagesScotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party. Picture: Andy Buchanan / AFP /Getty Images
Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party. Picture: Andy Buchanan / AFP /Getty Images

In a survey carried out by YouGov, 45 per cent of 1,029 respondents said that the level of immigration into Britain over the last few years has been too high.

A total of 37 per cent of respondents said they thought the level has been “about right”, with 6% saying they thought the level was too low, whilst 11% said they did not know whether the level was right or not.

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The study, carried out last week, highlighted a rise in the number of people over the last year who think immigration levels are too high.

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Analysis in June 2018 found that 38 per cent of respondents believed that immigration levels were too high.

Research suggests that 45 per cent of people who voted Yes in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum believe that immigration is too high.

A total of 77 per cent of Leave voters in the Brexit referendum said they thought the level is too high, whilst Conservative voters are most likely to be opposed to more immigration, with 65 per cent stating that view.

The Scottish Government has said that it will help support EU citizens to stay in Scotland and there have previously been calls for immigration control to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament from Westminster.

Speaking at the SNP conference at the weekend, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I make no apology for taking the opportunity again today to send a message to all our fellow EU citizens.

“Whether you are studying or working in our universities, saving lives in our health service, creating wealth in our business community, catering for our tourists or harvesting our food. Wherever you are in Scotland and whatever you do, you are part of us. And with all our hearts, we want you to stay.”

The Scottish Government has repeatedly warned that a more restrictive migration system could send Scotland’s recent population growth into reverse, with birth rates north of the Border falling to historic lows.

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Last week, latest figures revealed Scotland’s population hit 5.44 million. Migration was the main reason for the increase with 20,900 more people coming than leaving, from both overseas and the rest of the UK, over the year to mid-2018.

Although Scotland’s population increased by 0.2 per cent over the year, the rate of population growth has slowed for the second year running. This is due to a reduction in overall net migration.

Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan told The Scotsman: “As the First Minister made clear to our party conference at the weekend, Scotland is a welcoming home for all people – those who have been here for generations, and those who have just arrived.

“Migration has been an overwhelmingly positive force for good in Scotland and we need it to continue to sustain our working age population, boost economic growth and maintain vital public services.

“Increasingly right-wing Brexiteer Tories would rather end those benefits, and we’d all suffer as a result.