Scotland registers slowest inhabitants progress fee in UK

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Scotland’s inhabitants grew by 2.7 per cent up to now decade, the slowest fee of any a part of the UK, in accordance with official figures revealed on Thursday that spotlight the nation’s demographic challenges.

Nationwide Data of Scotland stated that the 2022 census confirmed that whereas the inhabitants had hit a report 5.44mn, the expansion fee had declined by nearly 2 share factors from 4.6 per cent between 2001 and 2011.

The statistics physique stated the nation’s inhabitants would have declined by nearly 50,000 with out migration. The variety of folks aged 65 and over jumped by 22.5 per cent to 1.09mn, equal to one-fifth of the overall inhabitants and better than the 18.6 per cent recorded in England and Wales final yr.

The information is prone to intensify issues in Scotland about depopulation and labour shortages in rural areas, which the governing Scottish National party has blamed on Brexit.

The professional-independence SNP has argued that ending Scotland’s 316-year union with England would allow it to rejoin the EU and restore freedom of motion with the bloc.

Scotland’s 2.7 per cent fee of inhabitants progress for 2011-2022 in contrast with 6.3 per cent in England and Wales and 5.1 per cent in Northern Eire between 2011 and 2021.

The once-in-a-decade depend in Scotland was delayed by a yr due to the Covid-19 pandemic and marred by decrease participation rates.

Angus Robertson, cupboard secretary for the structure, stated the census knowledge “reinforces simply how damaging Brexit continues to be for Scotland with the lack of freedom of motion”.

The survey confirmed that folks aged 65 and over outnumbered these underneath 15 by greater than 250,000 final yr — a turnaround from 1971, when there have been twice as many individuals underneath 15. The teams have been broadly related in dimension by 2011, NRS stated.

Scotland’s slower inhabitants progress comes regardless of a surge in UK-wide immigration and has raised questions on how the nation, which ran a price range deficit of 9 per cent of gross home product within the 2022-23 fiscal yr, will fund elevated demand for well being and social care.

The Scottish Fiscal Fee, the spending watchdog, in March estimated that rising prices and an ageing inhabitants will push well being to about 50 per cent of the devolved administration’s spending in 50 years’ time, up from about one-third now.

Critics have accused the SNP authorities of creating Scotland unattractive to potential newcomers by growing taxes for prime earners.

Donald Cameron, the Scottish Conservatives’ shadow secretary for the structure, stated it was “important we entice extra folks to Scotland to employees our under-resourced NHS and increase financial progress, however the SNP’s obsession with increased taxation and their failures in public companies are all unhealthy indicators”.

Separate analysis launched on Thursday by Migration Coverage Scotland discovered that 38 per cent of Scots wished immigration to go up, in contrast with 28 per cent who wished it to fall. In 2014, 58 per cent wished immigration to fall, the charity stated.


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