Scottish Government will oppose any EU worker levy

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.

MP for Banff and Buchan, Eilidh Whiteford, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s statement that they will oppose any proposals to hit employers with a £1,000-a-year levy on EU workers.

Home Office minister Robert Goodwill told peers that the UK Government is considering extending the Immigration Skills Charge, which applies to migrants from outside the EEA, to EU nationals – which could potentially see some sectors hit with a bill worth millions.

In a written answer to a parliamentary question, Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Fiona Hyslop confirmed that the Scottish Government would oppose such a plan.

Ms Hyslop also revealed that she had written to Minister of State for Skills in July about the impact the Immigration Skills Charge will have on Scotland’s key growth sectors – but never received a reply.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said: “Scottish businesses already face the uncertainty of being dragged out of the single market, and the damage that a hard Tory Brexit will cause to the local economy and household incomes.

“Not only do we know that Theresa May is putting the interests of Spanish fishermen above our own in Scotland, the threat of an EU-workers levy will put even more strain on employers that need these workers to help support our economy – especially fish processors. If we don’t have anywhere to process the fish, it will be landed elsewhere.

“This lurch to the right from the Tories is in sharp contrast to the Norwegian style deal that the North East was promised during the EU referendum. It’s time that the UK Government listened to the Scottish Government proposals to protect Scotland’s vital economies.”