THE looming threat of No-Deal Brexit is underlining the need for “significant new powers” to be urgently given to Holyrood to encourage new investment and boost Scotland’s population, according to the SNP.

The Sustainable Growth Commission, established by the party to look at the economics of an independent Scotland, set out a “Come to Scotland” package of incentives to encourage more people to live and invest in Scotland.

It outlined proposals such as tax incentives to reduce the costs of moving to Scotland, a streamlined visa system and measures to encourage graduates of Scottish universities to remain in the country after their studies.

Holyrood finance committee member Tom Arthur MSP said the threat of a No-Deal Brexit meant it was urgent Holyrood is given more powers to achieve this.

He said Scotland had the opportunity to strike a different approach while the Tory government is “putting up barriers and telling people they are not welcome”.

He said: “We want people to come to Scotland to live, work, study, invest and help us in building a fairer, more prosperous country.

“Over the next 25 years, the entirety of Scotland’s projected population growth is expected to come from migration.

“But as we head towards the precipice of a No-Deal Brexit, all of that is put in peril – and the resulting damage to our economy would be devastating.

“As it stands, we’re firefighting with our hands tied behind our back. Holyrood lacks the necessary powers to set a different course.”

He added: “We need Westminster to give us the powers to grow our working age population, and we need those powers now.

“We need investors, entrepreneurs, skilled graduates, NHS workers, young people and families if we want to achieve our potential as a nation.”

The annual report from the Registrar General for Scotland, published last week, showed Scotland’s population is now at its highest ever level, with 5.44 million people. But migration was the main driver of this trend, with 20,900 more people coming to Scotland than leaving over the past year. The report noted between 2008 and 2018, Scotland had the lowest population growth as a result of natural change out of all of the UK countries and was the most reliant on migration for increasing the population.