Brexit: EU workers 'adding £7.3bn to Scottish economy'

Around one in 20 workers in Scotland come from other EU countries, with patterns of employment 'markedly different' north of the border

Lynsey Bews
Tuesday 01 November 2016 08:08 GMT
The Scottish Parliament at Holyrood
The Scottish Parliament at Holyrood (Getty)

Workers from the EU contribute around £7.3 billion to the Scottish economy, MSPs have been told.

The figure has been set out in a submission to Holyrood's Economy Committee looking at the economic impact of Brexit.

Economic consultants at 4-consulting said the number was a “snapshot” of the contribution of workers born in other EU countries.

The consultancy's director Richard Marsh is one of a number of experts due to give evidence to the committee.

Around one in 20 workers in Scotland come from other EU countries, with patterns of employment “markedly different” north of the border compared with other parts of the UK, 4-consulting's submission said.

Around 20,000 EU workers are employed in the financial sector - accounting for 4.8% of total workers, it said.

EU workers represent 8.7% of the hospitality workforce, with 42,000 employed in this area, while 12,000 are employed in manufacturing, and a further 33,000 are working in public admin, education and health.

“EU workers in Scotland are paid a higher average hourly pay than any other part of the UK outside of London,” 4-consulting added.

“This may point to EU workers engaged in higher value added activities in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK.”

The submission continued: “Using an economic model and underlying data published by the Scottish Government, the economic contribution of workers born in other EU countries was estimated to be around £7.3 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) each year.”

The Scottish Government has called for a guarantee from the UK Government that EU nationals will be allowed to stay following Brexit.

The SNP administration also wants control over immigration policy as part of a package to protect Scotland's place in Europe.

The 4-consulting submission highlighted data which shows the importance of financial services in Scotland. The impact of Brexit on the sector is a key concern for both the Scottish and UK governments.

The sector accounts for almost 24% of Edinburgh's economy, while the city is more reliant on financial services than any other European city except Luxembourg, according to 4-consulting.

Other experts giving evidence at the committee include Dr Graeme Roy, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, Stephen Boyle, chief economist at The Royal Bank of Scotland, Dr Matias Margulis of the University of Stirling, Dr Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive and chief economist at the European Policy Centre, and Jane Gotts of GenAnalytics Ltd.


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