Swinney 'would discuss Labour’s proposed immigration scheme for Scotland'

Speaking in Irvine as part of the SNP’s campaign trail, John Swinney said the status quo is ‘fiercely hostile’ towards immigrants.

Swinney says he would discuss Labour’s proposed immigration scheme for Scotland Getty Images

The First Minister says he would discuss a new immigration scheme for Scotland proposed by Labour.

Speaking in Irvine on Sunday as part of the SNP’s campaign ahead of the upcoming election, John Swinney said at a UK-level, the Labour Party’s current approach towards immigration is “fiercely hostile”, and called for “urgent clarity” from the party to set out its immigration plans for Scotland.

In its manifesto, the Labour Party says it will ensure that “migration to address skills shortages triggers a plan to upskill workers and improve working conditions in the UK”.

It added: “Given skills policy and employment support are devolved, we will work with the Scottish government when designing workforce plans for different sectors.

“This will ensure our migration and skills policies work for every part of the UK. We will end the long-term reliance on overseas workers in some parts of the economy.

“The days of a sector languishing endlessly on the shortage occupation lists with no action to train up workers will come to an end.”

Swinney said: “There are some newspaper reports that the Labour Party is proposing some sort of immigration scheme for Scotland.

“I would welcome such discussions – I think we need urgent clarity from the Labour Party if that actually is their position because at a UK level, the UK leadership of the Labour Party is fiercely hostile to immigration and are following the agenda of the Conservatives.

“So I want to make sure that we’ve got substantial opportunities for discussion and my government will certainly engage in a constructive way on these questions.”

Earlier on Sunday, Swinney told BBC’s The Sunday Show he would work with Labour if it wins, and encourage more people of working age to move to Scotland for their career prospects.

Asked to elaborate, Swinney said: “The key thing we’ve lost is access to freedom of movement in the European Union.

“That has been a disaster for Scotland – it’s one of the many attributes of Brexit that has been damaging to the Scottish economy and that issue is really not being covered in the election campaign.

“The Labour Party and the Conservatives are running a mile from the economic and social impacts of Brexit.

“It’s been damaging in terms of population loss, it’s been damaging in terms of economic opportunities, so the sooner we can get back into the EU, which we can through independence, we should take that opportunity.”

Asked if he is happy with the response he and his party received while in Irvine, Swinney said: “There’s a strong reaction, a positive reaction to our campaign.

“People realise that austerity, which was started by the Conservatives, delivered for 14 years, is now going to be carried along by the Labour Party and that’s absolutely crystal clear from all the evidence that’s been set out.

“So we’ve got to have a strong group of SNP MPs that will reel against austerity in the House of Commons and do all that they can to protect the Scottish interest and to make sure that we have the opportunity to design a future for Scotland, in Scotland, which will ensure that the priorities and the needs of the people of Scotland are effectively addressed”.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code