Scotland to suffer under UK immigration proposals

The number of workers in Scotland could reduce by up to five percent over the next twenty years due to the UK Government immigration plans, an expert panel has warned.

The independent panel indicated that the proposals put forward in the UK Government’s White Paper, released in December 2018, could see net migration to Scotland reduce between one third and one half after 2020.

The White Paper recommends a minimum salary threshold of £30,000, meaning those wishing to come into the United Kingdom must earn more than £30,000 yearly. However, the independent report found that 63% of workers in Scotland currently earn less than the threshold. The group also suggests that the threshold would exclude a greater number of women compared to men, as well as young people who are looking to begin their careers.

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The Scottish border (Credit: Kim Traynor)

One area that would be severely affected by a threshold is social care. In Scotland, less than 10% of those in caring personal service occupations earn above £25,000 and none earn more than £30,000. Local authorities are currently facing pressure to save money, leaving no room to raise salaries to attract more UK workers. This forces the friends and families of those in care to assume responsibility for their personal care, with female family members more likely to have to take up the role.

The report also found that the UK Government’s proposals would harm Scotland’s economy, public services and future population growth significantly. UK evidence suggests that EU migrants contribute more through tax revenues than they consume via public services. Like the rest of the UK, EU migrants coming into Scotland are typically young and relatively active, meaning they are consuming a small amount of public services due to their lack of use of health care services and are less likely to receive welfare benefits. If these migrants remain in Scotland or choose to have children, they will inevitably consume health services or publicly provided education services but their long-term contribution to tax revenues will outweigh the financial cost they will receive in services.

Ben Macpherson, Migration Minister said: “The Scottish Government has been consistently clear that freedom of movement has enriched Scotland and should be allowed to continue. The UK Government’s focus on reducing immigration will damage Scotland and does not reflect the needs of our economy, our public services or our communities.

“This independent report raises additional concerns about the effect UK Government immigration proposals will have on Scotland’s rural and suburban areas and demographics.”

Mr Macpherson said the report shows that Westminster should consider devolving immigration powers to allow Holyrood to support Scottish economic growth, public services and rural communities in ways that will benefit them.

Museums over meditation for under 30s?

Visiting museum and gallery spaces seem to be a more popular way of dealing with stress and anxiety than mindfulness or mediation, according to a recent study conducted for a national arts charity. 

The report commissioned by the Art Fund at the end of last year showed 63% of people under the age of 30 would visit a museum or gallery as a way of relieving stress or anxiety, the same percentage that talking to a friend or family member received.

In response to the report, that found under 30s to be one of the most stressed generations, Art Fund have decided to increase the age for their under 26 national passes to under 30, allowing for a larger number of people to benefit from discounted exhibition entrance fees.

A spokesperson for Art Fund told EN4 News: “We give around seven million pounds a year at the moment, a lot of that which is facilitated through our national art passes.”

This change was launched earlier this week but is already said to be being “well received” they said.

They also said that the report as a whole showed “those who visit museums and galleries on a regular basis are more likely to have lower levels of stress and anxiety than those who have never visited one.”

The results found by the report, Art Fund believe, have further solidified the existing research around the benefits exposing oneself to arts and culture on a regular basis can have on a general wellbeing.

Museums and Galleries, with their cafes, bright open exhibition spaces, and interactive displays, are used for numerous activities that could lead to an increase feeling of wellness.

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National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Megan Merino

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. Photo by Megan Merino

 

But it may not only be the act of going to these spaces that can be beneficial to mental health. Instillations around Scotland are tackling themes of mental wellness and self reflection to allow for an even more introspective cultural experience.

A current exhibit at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art aims to allow visitors to reflect on their feelings and state of mind through an interactive light instillation.

EN4 news spoke with curator of the HappyHere exhibition Màiri Lafferty.

Màiri Lafferty, Daskalopoulos Curator of Engagement at National Galleries of Scotland.

HappyHere uses an interactive board to allow visitors to answer seven questions that are then presented in the form of light and colour on a custom-built screen for an abstract visualisation of the thoughts and feelings associated with the responses.

The instillation is inside the Pig Rock Bothy, a small space in the grounds of the Modern Art Gallery.

Credits: There will be no Miracles Here- Nathan Coley       Everything Will Be Alright-Martin Creed 

Despite creating a space that facilitates self reflection, Màiri added that it was not the job of a curator to force emotions on the visitor, but instead to allow the space for a personal experience and interaction with art.

 

 

Another new Edinburgh based exhibition addressing the theme of wellbeing is Beings at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery opening on February 2.

We spoke to Richie Cummings, Outreach Officer at the National Galleries about the upcoming exhibition that will display the artwork of young people as a response to other pieces in the National Galleries’ collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consumer confidence in Scotland lowest in over a year

Consumer confidence levels in Scotland have dropped to the lowest it has been in over a year, and below the UK-wide average, new research indicates.

According to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker, Scotland’s consumer confidence results have dropped to a net balance of  -9%, which is lower than the UK average of -7%.

Scotland’s result has dropped a whole four percentage points since the last quarter. This is the lowest it has been since the second quarter of 2017.

Some local business owners in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh responded to the research, and were surprisingly optimistic about their customers, despite the recent findings.

Gavin Elden, A La Carte owner, said: “Even when times are tough, people just want to have treats, so we haven’t noticed too much of a change.

A La Carte on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“However, there has been a huge change around here, and lots and lots of shops have changed hands.

“It is hard to tell with Brexit. I think the whole country is just uncertain at the moment about everything. It could be fantastic or it could be a disaster.”

Clementine Home and Gifts worker, Monica, said: “I would definitely think Brexit will have an effect. Everyone is talking about it and I will probably be affected because I am from Poland.

Clementine on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“My friends are all concerned and it definitely has an impact on how people view their future here and spending as well because people are saving instead of spending just in case.”

Cat Anderson, Edinburgh Bookshop worker, said: “I was talking to the boss the other day and she is really impressed with how much people are shopping and she puts it down to Brexit.

The Edinburgh Bookshop on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“People are just like we don’t care anymore, we are going to live regardless, we don’t know what is coming next so we might as well just enjoy ourselves.

“I have certainly seen a massive increase in food prices and have changed my shopping habits accordingly. Brexit is definitely having an impact.”

In Scotland, five out of the six measures of confidence dropped compared to the last quarter. The measure which grew in confidence was regarding job opportunities and career progression which rose by four percentage points to -4%.

The main reason for the downfall in consumer confidence was plunging levels of optimism regarding general health and wellbeing. This category dropped 18 percentage points down to -16% since the previous quarter. This was closely followed by a steep drop in levels of confidence around household disposable income which fell to -24%.

Levels of confidence fell in all six categories for the UK-wide results. The sharpest decline was in the category regarding disposable income and personal debt.

Deloitte chief economist Ian Stewart, related the downfall to Brexit and said: “The reality of higher inflation and August’s interest rate rise has dented optimism about spending power.

“Meanwhile uncertainty and the manner in which the UK exits the EU in less than six months’ time is creating an additional headwind for consumers.

He added: “That such consumer-friendly conditions have failed to boost confidence testifies to the headwinds from inflation, interest rate rises and Brexit.”

 The survey was carried out between September 21 and 29 and involved 3105 consumers across the UK, with 371 being in Scotland.

 

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