Following the UK government’s announcement of new immigration plans, FTA’s Head of Policy for Scotland, Mags Simpson, comments:

“The new immigration proposals announced this week by the UK government do not meet the needs of Scotland, and are hugely worrying for Scotland’s industries, particularly freight and logistics.

“Although we support making the UK attractive to high skilled workers, we recognise that the brightest and the best work in many different occupations and not all can be measured by academic skill levels. Ignoring vital workers that keep the UK moving could pose a risk to UK PLC.

“The unhelpful narrative of ‘low-skilled migrants’ and ‘cheap’ European labour demeans people who form an essential part of Scotland’s communities and labour force, and ignores the very real needs of the logistics sector and others across Scotland’s economy. By referring to the roles as ‘low skilled’, anybody considering a job in the logistics, or other vital sector, would be disinclined to pursue these routes to employment.

“Saying employers ‘will need to adapt and adjust’ does not assist industry in anyway. The timescales on this do not allow sufficient time for industry to adapt to a complex and time sensitive process. With unemployment figures in both Scotland and the UK at an all-time low, it is unfair to suggest that there is simply a pool of workers waiting to be employed, by any sector.

“We would hope that the UK government is interested in promoting a healthy and inclusive economy and that it will listen to the evidence employers from Scotland have consistently provided. A ‘one-size fits all’ solution does not consider the demographic differences across the regions of the UK, and especially not those of Scotland.

“Without appropriate and fair, accessible routes for people to come to Scotland to live and work, businesses in Scotland will face skill and labour shortfalls, threatening the vibrancy of the economy and the sustainability of some. We call on the UK government to consider alternatives, including those put forward by Scottish government.”

Efficient logistics is vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK PLC. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.