Scots and English hold similar views on immigration - poll

Scottish and English people have broadly similar attitudes to immigration, according to a new poll conducted for a report suggesting Scotland adapt to a UK-wide approach to immigration.
Katwala: welcoming tone. Picture: PAKatwala: welcoming tone. Picture: PA
Katwala: welcoming tone. Picture: PA

The ICM poll for independent think-tank British Future surveyed 3,657 adults across the UK including a sample of 1,052 from Scotland.

The results will be published this week in a report “Time to get it right: Finding consensus on Britain’s future immigration policy”. The vast majority (87 per cent) of Scots would like the number of skilled EU migrants coming to the UK to either increase or stay the same – similar to the English figure of 86 per cent.

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Seventy-eight per cent of Scots would also prefer the amount of student migration to remain the same or increase. Their English counterparts recorded 76 per cent when it came to those in favour of student migration to remain the same or increase.

In Scotland, 63 per cent would like low-skilled EU migration to be reduced, rising to 69 per cent for low-skilled immigration from outside the EU. Those figures are very similar to the English “reduce low-skilled migration” findings of 64 per cent (EU) and 67 per cent (non-EU).

The poll, conducted in June, found only 37 per cent of Scots would vote Yes in an independence referendum if one was held tomorrow – compared with a No vote of 53 per cent and 11 per cent don’t knows.

British Future director Sunder Katwala said: “There is a different, more welcoming tone to the immigration debate in Scotland. Yet this new research finds that views about future policy choices are not very polarised between the Scots and the English...The overlap in views shown here strengthens the case that Scotland could shape a UK-wide approach that works for Scotland.”