Scotland's ageing population poses a "real risk" to the country's budget in future, a Holyrood committee has said. The working-age population is set to fall from 2018 onwards, alongside a big increase in the number of over-75s. The rest of the UK is set to see its working-age population grow, which the Scottish Fiscal Commission said would place a drag on economic growth north of the border.
The finance committee said this posed "fundamental questions" going forward. At present, Scotland's economy is forecast to grow more slowly than that of the UK for each of the next four years.
The committee's report said a "key factor" behind this was demographic change and population growth, with the number of people in the 16-64 working-age bracket set to shrink in the immediate future.
The Scottish government's fiscal outlook states the issue is "set to accelerate from 2021 onwards", and at a faster rate than in the rest of the UK - adding that this challenge "will continue for at least the next 25 years". The committee also raised concerns a decrease in immigration relative to the rest of the UK could pose a "real risk" to the budget, with Scotland disproportionately affected by any drop in numbers after Brexit.