THERE’S been a warning that cutting migration because of Brexit could cost Scotland’s economy up to £10 billion a year by 2040.

It comes in new Scottish Government analysis which says lower migration would reduce real gross domestic product (GDP) by 4.5 per cent in Scotland, the equivalent of almost £5bn a year, compared to 3.7 per cent across the rest of the UK.

And, if net migration was cut to tens of thousands in line with a UK Government pledge, the cost to Scotland could be £10 billion per year by 2040.

The Scottish Government said that with the number of deaths expected to outweigh the number of births for every year until 2040, action was needed to maintain and grow Scotland's working age population and meet the needs of rural communities.

“Given the considerable larger negative impact on Scotland’s economy, there is a strong economic case for additional immigration powers in Scotland,” its research found.

The paper sets out options for a Scottish migration system, including specific criteria to address skills shortages, a new body to administer migration and powers to make it easier for migrants' family members, and those of UK citizens, to join them in Scotland.

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “It is clear that the UK Government's plans to reduce migration would not support Scotland's economy or our population needs - all of Scotland's population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration.

“So, this paper sets out what a devolved migration system could look like, and the principles we would follow.

“Inward migration does not just bring economic benefits. By welcoming people to live, work and study in Scotland we can strengthen our society and enrich our lives.

“Migrants contribute to our economy by bringing new skills and fresh approaches. Without their contribution Scotland's economic growth will suffer.”

The paper was welcomed by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI).

“This highlights the extent of Westminster’s failure to create sensible, evidence-based immigration policies that work across the UK,” said the group’s Chai Patel.

“We fully support the efforts of the Scottish Government to create a fairer, more humane immigration system, and can only hope that the UK as a whole follows suit.”