Scotland's Fresh Talent plan receives support

The Scottish government is reassuring its citizens that although the country wants to boost its immigration numbers, it will work with current and future immigrants to make sure they are integrated into Scottish society. Scotland's first minister Jack McConnell last year introduced his "Fresh Talent" policy to attract more immigrants.

Commenting for the first time since a UK-wide debate on immigration and identity opened up in the wake of the suicide attacks in London in July, the first minister said even more work needed to be done with young Muslims to help them integrate into Scottish society.

But he said the events had done nothing to diminish his enthusiasm for attracting immigrants to Scotland to reverse the declining population, which he sees as "the biggest threat to our long-term prosperity and security as a country".

In an interview with The Herald ahead of the 6 September announcement of his programme for government for the remaining 19 months of the current parliament, Mr McConnell said his "fresh talent" policy was "one of the great opportunities of devolution . . . and some of the most exciting work done in the past six years".