A landmark report by The House of Lords EU Committee acknowledges the political and economic case for Scotland adopting a “standalone approach” to immigration policy in light of its reliance on EU labour, which is vital in sectors such as health, social care, agriculture, food and drink and hospitality.
But the influential paper falls short of recommending that full control of immigration is devolved to Holyrood amid claims it is not the time to “embark on controversial domestic constitutional reform”. However, the Lords paper does call on the Prime Minister to “look for opportunities” to beef up the role of devolved institutions in managing EU migration.
The 90-page document – which draws on views from experts, peers and leading politicians – also notes that relations between the governments in London and Edinburgh have become “highly strained” and warns Brexit poses a “fundamental challenge” to the future of the United Kingdom.
A key recommendation of the document Brexit: Devolution insists: “Local and regional economic and demographic needs, rather than central targets, should drive decision-making.”
It further urges the UK Government to “respect the particular circumstances in Scotland”.
“While we acknowledge the referendum was a UK-wide vote, giving a UK-wide result, the Government needs to recognise the fact that the vote to remain in Scotland, at 62 per cent, was the largest and most decisive (either in favour of remaining or leaving) in any nation of the UK,” it adds.