SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has issued a fresh demand for powers over immigration to be given to Holyrood– claiming that leaving control in Westminster’s hands will “inevitably undermine” the NHS in Scotland.

Flynn accused both the Conservatives and Labour of “ignoring reality and Scotland’s needs” with their promises to cut overall migration into the UK.

The most recent census data shows that without migration into Scotland, the country’s population would have shrunk by almost 50,000 between 2011 and 2022, as deaths outnumbered births over the period.

Meanwhile, with Labour shadow cabinet member Darren Jones having said recently the party aims to cut net migration to the UK to a “couple of hundred thousand a year” within its first term, fears have been raised that this could see overall migration levels for Scotland falling to as little as 6000 people a year – potentially reducing the workforce in key areas.

There is also speculation the Tories could seek to raise the minimum amount people would need to earn before they could come to the UK – with reports suggesting Rishi Sunak had agreed with former home secretary Suella Braverman on this.

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It comes as the Scottish Government is seeking to attract more workers to Scotland, with Flynn insisting “higher levels of migration” are necessary for the NHS so it can continue providing vital services.

The SNP Westminster group leader hit out at both Labour and the Conservatives, saying: “Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer are ignoring reality and Scotland’s needs with promises to cut net migration.

“Scotland already faces acute demographic challenges – higher levels of migration are vital to help ensure that our NHS can continue to deliver for those it serves.

“Scotland is already suffering as a result of Westminster’s Brexit and migration policies and these new Tory and Labour proposals will inevitably undermine our NHS.”

The SNP MP added: “If Westminster won’t take the necessary steps to ensure Scotland’s public services are protected then it must deliver the necessary powers to Holyrood so that we can.

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“The people of Scotland deserve better than this. Decisions made at Westminster by governments we don’t vote for continue to cause enormous damage, and it’s gone on for too long.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are clear that net migration remains far too high. The government is completely committed to bringing down legal migration, whilst balancing the needs of our economy, and we are continuing to look at ways to do so.

“We have already taken tough action to reduce migration, by tackling the substantial rise in the number of students bringing dependants to the UK– a change that will have a tangible impact.

“We are working across government on further measures, including to prevent exploitation and manipulation of our visa system and clamping down on those that take advantage of the flexibility of the immigration system. We will announce details in due course.”