The implications of Brexit and the demand for more information about the potential effects on Scotland's labour market came under the spotlight at a conference organised by Heriot-Watt at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
'Brexit, Migration and Labour Market Participation in Scotland' examined the unprecedented and widespread implications of Brexit for Scotland's labour market. It brought together key policy makers, academics and voluntary organisations to discuss and deliberate the issues raised and was informed by economists, academics who work on labour migration, social policy and legislation, policy makers and influencers and the voluntary sector. The organisers aim to pool what is already known, identify what is needed in order to plan for the future and discuss opportunities for working together to address these needs.
Dr Gina Netto, Associate Professor in Migration at Heriot-Watt's School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society, said, “The negotiations around Brexit are complex and likely to take some considerable time to evolve. However, it is essential that these are informed by evidence-based research on what would narrow existing inequalities, counter poverty and support economic growth.
“Academic analysis has revealed that overall, British people living in poverty, with few educational qualifications or skills and living in low skilled areas were more likely than others to vote in favour of leaving the EU. While detailed Scotland specific analysis is not yet available, it is significant that all 32 local authorities voted in favour of remain.
“Based on empirical research which has explored the links between migration, poverty and low skilled work in England and Scotland, and wider developments in Europe, I believe that measures to tackle persistent in-work poverty, including among minorities and migrants, should inform negotiations on Brexit.
“One thing which struck me during and after the conference is that there is clearly an interest and demand for the knowledge and research that was shared at the conference among a range of interest groups, and for continued opportunities to share such knowledge.”
The conference presentations are now available for download from The Urban Institute at Heriot-Watt's School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society.