An independent Scotland could open its doors to a huge influx of immigrants who would fill a city the size of Edinburgh, Treasury chiefs have claimed.
The UK Government’s most detailed report to date on the seismic impact of a Yes vote will be published next week, which includes an in-depth analysis of demographic changes.
A separate Scotland’s weaker fiscal position would mean a rapidly ageing population would have to be countered by a massive rise in foreign workers – a policy endorsed by the SNP.
Alex Salmond’s proposed solution is to lift restrictions on non-EU immigration if he wins the referendum, bringing in more workers from abroad.
But despite repeated requests for precise estimates, the Scottish Government has so far failed to produce detailed information.
A senior Treasury source said next week’s paper has modelled a “high migration” scenario, which could reduce the dependency ratio to the same as the UK’s if there is not a similar influx south of the Border.
“To get the demographics simply to match the UK, Scotland would have to go up to the ‘high migration scenario,’ which is 24,000 people a year net, so that’s more than tripling in migration relative to Scotland within the UK,” the source said.