IT’S been a couple of weeks since my last column and a lot of interesting news has been circulating. Labour, once again, found itself in a mess, with Jeremy Corbyn ruling out maintaining our place in the single market and his frontbenchers instantly jumping up to contradict him.

Donald Trump and North Korea have been ramping up their rhetoric and making threats at every turn, while the Tories continue running in circles trying to clarify what Brexit means for Scotland and the rest of the UK. Scottish Labour also found themselves in hot water after making false claims about ScotRail’s performance. Just for the sake of clarity, 93.7 per cent of ScotRail’s trains hit the industry standard public performance measure… not 60 per cent.

One piece of news that I noted with great interest was the Registrar General’s Annual Review of Scot-land’s population trends.

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The number of pensioners in Scotland is projected to rise by 28 per cent over the next 25 years, which will leave us with a huge gap in tax revenues if we can’t increase our working age populations. As our population continues to age and our working age population starts to dwindle, immigration is absolutely crucial to maintaining, and in fact, growing our economy.

The Registrar General’s annual review shows us that EU migrants are the key players in Scottish population growth, so it is vital that we retain our place in the single market, including the free movement of people that comes with it, if Scotland is to continue to prosper.

The SNP are committed to this, whereas the Tories are still chasing after an ideologically driven hard Brexit which would put the health of the Scottish economy at great risk.

And Labour … honestly, I’m not sure what their position is these days. I don’t think they are either but I’m sure there will be interviews from Labour MPs appearing soon where they insist that they have been “very clear”.

Much of the language that surrounds the immigration debate is very concerning.

We must be sure the contribution that migrants make to Scotland, and the important and positive role they play economically and culturally is highlighted as we continue through this Brexit mess.

In more Brexit confusion, the Government couldn’t decide if it was willing to pay a £36 billion bill to leave the EU this week. Sources in Whitehall told the Sunday Telegraph the Prime Minister would be happy to accept a settlement of £36 billion, then only a couple of days later the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said Theresa May doesn’t “recognise” the figure.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. From the day, the referendum result was announced the Government have flip-flopped, U-turned, backtracked, denied, confirmed, and disavowed on nearly every single issue relating to Brexit. The complete lack of consistency is just another show of the complete disarray inside the Tory Government. Agreeing on the settlement terms with the EU is one of the key parts of the negotiations with the EU and they can’t even decide among themselves what their position is.

One simple solution to this culture of leaks and backroom briefings would be for the Prime Minister to lay out clearly her plans and strategy for Brexit to the public, but I fear, as I’m sure many of you do, that even she doesn’t know what she wants Brexit to look like even at this stage in process.

Another bit of news I was really pleased to see is that a record number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds are now getting into university. The number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds getting a place at uni was up 20 per cent, UCAS revealed on Tuesday. It is great to see that we are continuing to progress towards a society where your ability to learn, and not your ability to pay, is the deciding factor on whether you get into higher education or not.

Further to this, the Higher Education Statistics Agency released figures on Thursday which showed that Scottish Graduates are the best paid in the UK three years after graduating. The average take home salary for someone leaving a Scottish Higher Education Institution was £27,000. The agency also found that 93.7 per cent of leavers from Scottish Higher Education Institutions were now in employment, further study, or a mixture of both. This is a great show of strength for the Scottish education sector, making clear that the Scottish Government’s commitment to improving education is showing great progress.

Congratulations to everyone who got the exam results they were hoping for this week, and for those who didn’t get what they were aiming for this week, there is a lot of information available when con-sidering your next steps at https://www.myworldofwork.co.uk.