ATTITUDES towards immigration are roughly the same north and south of the Border, new analysis has suggested.

The National Centre for Social Research found more people think immigration has been good for the economy than bad.

But their study also reveals significant variations by party – with SNP voters more likely to take a positive view.

Meanwhile, those who back Labour and the Tories in Scotland are less likely to support immigration than their counterparts down south.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said people across Scotland and the UK “clearly recognise the benefits of migration for our economy, culture and wider society”.

He added: “That’s why it is so absurd that the Tories want to end free movement once we leave the EU, which will harm our NHS, our universities, key industries and our ability to work and travel across Europe.

“This is why the SNP will fight to remain within the EU through a second referendum or, failing that, stay within the single market, which is eight times bigger than the UK alone.”

The new report was authored by polling guru Sir John Curtice and researcher Ian Montagu.

Using data from the most recent British and Scottish social attitudes surveys, they found little difference in attitudes towards immigration among voters in Scotland, England and Wales.

But while nearly three-fifths of Labour supporters down south think migration is good for Britain’s economy, only around half (51 per cent) of the party's voters in Scotland share this view.

Similarly, three in ten Scottish Tory backers believe migration has been beneficial – compared with nearly two-fifths in England and Wales.

The study reveals 22% of Scottish Tory voters actually believe migration is bad for the economy, noticeably higher than the equivalent figure of 15% south of the Border.

Mr Curtice and Mr Montagu said the difference between Scotland the rest of the UK resides in how attitudes are reflected in the ballot box.

They said: “The SNP has gathered for itself an electorate that is relatively positive about immigration, an electorate whose views are then counterbalanced to some degree by a pattern of support for other parties in Scotland that is somewhat less positive towards migration than is found among those in England and Wales who back such parties.

“Support for Scottish independence is associated with a more positive outlook too, even though on its own a strong Scottish identity is not.”

They said their analysis is a “reminder of the dangers of attempting to infer the prevalence of attitudes from the outcome of an election or a referendum”, adding: “Two sets of voters with very similar attitudes to each other can behave very differently if the political choices with which they are presented and the political appeals to which they are exposed are very different.”