SCOTLAND’S POPULATION GROWTH SET TO LAG BEHIND.
DEMOGRAPHIC RISK TO PUBLIC SERVICES SHOWS WHY SCOTLAND NEEDS OWN SAY
INDEPENDENT IRELAND SET TO CATCH UP WITH SCOTLAND IN TWO DECADES
Scotland’s population would be 500,000 higher by 2040 if population growth was matching small northern European nations, according to new analysis by the SNP.
The stunning figures highlight fears that Scotland could face a demographic crisis in coming decades and struggle to pay for public services as our population ages – underlining the urgent need for Scotland to have control over key powers.
The Sustainable Growth Commission found that if Scotland had matched the population growth of the other small European countries since 1980 there would be 6.1 million people living in Scotland – 650,000 more than the current population.
Now new analysis has found that Scotland’s population would increase by hundreds of thousands of people over the next twenty years if we matched the projected growth of our closest neighbours.
Scotland’s population is expected to grow by just 4.4% by 2040 – significantly lower than projected growth rates in Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden or Iceland.
If Scottish growth was to match average projections for the Nordic countries and Ireland, our population would be over 500,000 higher in 2040 than on current projections.
Holyrood’s Finance Committee warned last year that “demographic divergence” between Scotland and the rest of the UK could lead to a drag on GDP growth in Scotland, which would impact our ability to fund public services.
Commenting, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said:
“Scotland urgently needs to grow our population – or we face a demographic timebomb over coming decades that could make it seriously challenging to fund public services like the NHS.
“But the Tories – who created a self-proclaimed ‘hostile environment’ for migrants and now want to throw up more barriers by leaving the EU – are taking entirely the wrong approach.
“It is increasingly obvious that Scotland needs our own powers over migration and the means to grow our population.
“But there are bigger questions about why Scotland’s population growth has lagged behind other countries for decades – and why we’re set to fare so poorly compared to our closest neighbours in coming years.
“What an enormous contrast with Ireland, whose population is set to catch up with Scotland’s in just over two decades despite a long legacy of emigration.
“Independence will give Scotland the power to take decisions in our own interests – to grow our population, give young people opportunities for a better life and reject the failed approach of the Tories.”