Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) has today hit out at the home secretary’s “unhelpful” calls for further curbs on immigration, as Suella Braverman used a speech this morning to decry “unsustainable” levels of people coming to the UK.

Her comments are directly at odds with economic reality in Scotland, with recent figures showing unemployment at record low levels of just 3% and an extremely tight labour market holding business back.

The rate of job vacancies in Scotland remains very high in historic terms, compared to the supply of available workforce to fill vital roles.

Meanwhile, the long-running RBS Purchasing Managers’ Index published today shows that the pace of job creation by businesses at its fastest level since October 2021 — with further expansion plans by firms likely to be hampered by lack of availability of staff.

Last year’s Scotland’s Urban AGE report, a joint commission by Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce, recommended that immigration policy should be devolved to ensure that Scotland’s cities and regions have access to the workforce they need to prosper.

Commenting, AGCC Policy Adviser Fergus Mutch said: “The Home Secretary should avoid looking at the UK-wide immigration and skills picture through a London lens, and engage closely with the Scottish Government and local authorities the length and breadth of the country to understand the wider situation.

“Talk of skyrocketing and ‘unsustainable’ levels of immigration are deeply unhelpful when Scotland’s economy desperately needs to increase its working age population.

“In a number of key sectors — from key engineering roles, in teaching and healthcare, in tourism and hospitality, agriculture and many other industries at the heart of Scotland’s economy — there are simply more jobs than there are people to fill them.

“Scotland’s labour market continues to be extremely tight and while businesses want to grow they are being held back by a lack of available people.

“We want to see sensible, well-thought-out policy developed by the UK government based on what Scotland actually needs, not on what they think voters in other parts of Britain want to hear.

“Such a system should, of course, be one with puts training and upskilling of our existing workforce at its heart but should be pragmatic in terms of who we need to attract to live and work here to ensure continued growth and prosperity over the long term.”

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