Population Matters has responded to a consultation by the UK House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee on the issue of the demography of Scotland and the implications for devolution.
Population Matters made the following points:
- Scotland’s population is growing, but more slowly and ageing more quickly than the remainder of the United Kingdom.
- Scotland has a lower fertility rate than the remainder of the United Kingdom.
- Both the United Kingdom and Scottish populations are consuming renewable resources at an unsustainable rate.
- The focus should be on managing the transition to a sustainable, stable population with a different demographic profile, not on trying artificially to maintain an existing demographic profile.
- Responses to demographic change require long-term policies and plans.
- Population must be given more attention in government through the appointment of senior ministers who have responsibility for this across departments.
- Policies to encourage more efficient use of the existing labour pool and to reduce unintended pregnancies should be introduced.
- The Scottish Government has significant policy levers; however, the devolving of powers over employment should be considered because of the differing nature of the demographic challenges in Scotland and the remainder of the United Kingdom.