Independent Scotland would need 20,000 more immigrants annually than present rates to pay the pensions of Scotland’s ageing population without tax increases, according to the Scotland Institute.
SI accuses the Yes campaign of significantly underestimating the scale of the problem (Alex Salmond’s stated estimate of only 2,000 was mentioned in yesterdays post below). Immigration is set to become a highly contentious issue between England/Wales and Independent Scotland and tough restrictions on border crossing are likely to be necessary.
These calculations are complicated and based on the estimates of size of North Sea oil reserves and overall economic performance of Scotland amongst many unknowns.
The think tanks’s figures would amount to an increase of Scotland’s population of up to 8% in the next 20 years. Scotland Institute Azeem Ibrahim said “This means that an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK will find that they need hugely different immigration policies. And that raises the spectre of the unthinkable: the rest of the UK may not be able or wiling to support a Common Travel Area policy with Scotland as currently exists between UK and Ireland”.
Alex Salmond’s far lower figures have been much criticised- the Scottish Conservative finance spokesman has accused him of “pulling figures out of thin air”