THERE are fears a sharp drop in the number of overseas workers making their way to Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire could have a damaging impact on the local economy and public services.

Concerns have been raised by Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur, who represents parts of both local authority areas at Holyrood.

Latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show a 25 per cent reduction in the number of National Insurance registrations by overseas workers coming to Renfrewshire between 2015 and 2018.

And the drop has been even more dramatic in East Renfrewshire, where the figure stands at almost 32 per cent.

In both cases, the figure is significantly higher than the 18 per cent drop recorded across Scotland as a whole.

Mr Arthur said the DWP statistics reinforce warnings that the local area faces a “demographic crisis” that could hammer public services as an ageing population means fewer working-age taxpayers.

All of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration.

Analysis by the Scottish Government has found that Westminster proposals to cut migration to the tens of thousands would cost the Scottish economy up to £10billion per year by 2040.

Mr Arthur said: “The Tory government’s hostile approach to migration is failing both Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

“Their anti-immigrant obsession and narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric is driving people away from Scotland and putting vital public services here on the line.

“The simple fact is that, without inward migration, our working-age population will decline, making it harder to fund vital public services such as hospitals and schools in the future.

“It is now imperative for Scotland to have the powers to set an immigration policy which suits our specific needs and recognises the huge benefits migrant workers being to our economy and society.”

A spokesperson for the DWP declined to comment on the migration figures.

Read the latest of the Barrhead News