Scots no more open to immigration than rest of UK, study finds

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Attitudes towards immigration in Scotland are broadly the same as those in the rest of the UK, a study has found.

Overall, more people across the UK think immigration is good for the British economy than believe it is bad, analysis authored by Sir John Curtice found.

Overall, more people across the UK think immigration is good for the British economy than bad. Picture: John Devlin

Overall, more people across the UK think immigration is good for the British economy than bad. Picture: John Devlin

The study by NatCen Social Research, based on the most recent British and Scottish Social Attitudes surveys, found little evidence that public opinion in Scotland is any more liberal towards immigration than in England and Wales.

However, the study does suggest that independence supporters have a more positive view of immigration than people who voted to stay in the UK in the 2014 referendum.

Among Yes voters, 19 per cent feel British culture is undermined by immigration while 53 per cent believe it is enriched, compared to 21 per cent of No voters who feel British culture is undermined and 35 per cent who say it is enriched.

Broken down by party affiliation, 51 per cent of Labour voters in Scotland think that migration is good for Britain’s economy, compared with 59 per cent in England and Wales.

A total of 30 per cent of Scottish Conservative voters feel that immigration is good for the economy compared to 39 per cent south of the Border.

Sir John said there did not appear to be any consistent link in Scotland between identity and perceptions of the economic consequences of migration.

He said SNP voters in 2017 holding positive views about migration helped create the impression Scotland as a whole did as well.

But Sir John argued those Scots who supported other parties were less positive about immigration.

“Consequently, although the balance of opinion about migration is much the same in Scotland as in the rest of Britain, the link between attitudes towards the subject and how people vote at election time is somewhat different north of the Border,” he said.