"Irrelevant and misleading."
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee is referring to the government's case on immigration, but its damning judgement is an apt summation of the entire dismal NuLabour decade. And it's doubly damning when you consider Committee members include such old Labour stalwarts as Lord Richard "Happiness" Layard and Lord Sheldon, not to mention Lord SDP Skidelsky.
The Committee's report on The Economic Impact of Immigration is a comprehensive demolition job on the half-baked nonsense that has brought us to the brink of Powellite crisis. One by one, they go through the government's oft-repeated but groundless economic assertions and knock them flat:
- Immigration makes us richer- "Overall GDP, which the Government has persistently emphasised, is an irrelevant and misleading criterion for assessing the economic impacts of immigration on the UK. The total size of an economy is not an index of prosperity. The focus of analysis should rather be on the effects of immigration on income per head of the resident population. Both theory and the available empirical evidence indicate that these effects are small, especially in the long run when the economy fully adjusts to the increased supply of labour".
- Immigrants are needed to fill vacancies- "This is not an argument for immigration on a scale which exceeds emigration and thus increases the population of the country. We do not support the general claims that net immigration is indispensable to fill labour and skills shortages. Such claims are analytically weak and provide insufficient reason for promoting net immigration".
- Immigrants pay more tax than they take out in services- "The overall fiscal impact of immigration is likely to be small, though this masks significant variations across different immigrant groups".
- Immigrants will pay our pensions- "Arguments in favour of high immigration to defuse the “pensions time bomb” do not stand up to scrutiny... and ignore the fact that, in time, immigrants too will grow old and draw pensions."
Regular readers of BOM will be familiar with all of the above (eg see this blog), but this Report is based on rafts of evidence from Britain's leading economists, and is a definitive statement of where we stand (albeit all analysis is made ten times more difficult by the abysmal lack of official data).
Of course, it isn't just the fact that we are not benefiting in aggregate at the macro level. Beneath the totals there are winners and losers.
The winners are the rich and powerful: employers, the nanny and cleaner employing classes, highly skilled workers, and existing property owners. Unsurprisingly, the most vociferous supporters of immigration come from those very groups (including most of our government ministers and commissars, like Digs).
The losers are the poor and low-skilled: people like Slough's Pakistanis who are being priced out of their jobs (see this blog), and young Brits priced out of our migrant pressured property market. Not to mention the 5.5m benefit dependents of working age who will never get a job pitted against cheap immigrant labour (see this blog).
It is a shameful indictment of the People's Party.
The report also highlights the burdens on our public services, and while it deliberately avoids tackling the troubling social cohesion dimension, some of the numbers it comes up with are scary. Immigration over the last decade has run out of control. For example, 12% - 12%!! - of our workforce now comprises immigrants (ie people born abroad), and three-quarters of them are not the EU workers we are constantly told we can do nothing about.
For future reference, here's the Report's summary of Labour's record, highlighting the net 2.34m non-British immigrants they allowed in during their first decade:
And how this was a complete break with the past, with immigration soaring as soon as they took over:
Looking forward makes you want to catch the next plane out. With no further migration, our population is projected to be 61.5m by 2056, compared to 60.6m now, and yeah, we're crowded but we could probably cope with that. But with migration, on the central projection under current policies, the population balloons to 78.6m. 78.6m! Where will they all live? Especially when you realise that around two-thirds of immigrants come to London and the South East.
Their Lordships have some suggestions:
"The government should review its immigration policies and then explain, on the basis of firm evidence on the economic and other impacts, the reasons for and objectives of the policies, and how they relate to other policy objectives such as improving the skills of the domestic workforce."
Translation from Lordspeak: WTF are we going on with this lunacy? It makes absolutely no sense.
"The government should clarify the objectives and implications of the new, partially points-based immigration system. It is far from clear that the new arrangements will in fact constitute the radical overhaul of the present system suggested by the Government."
Translation from Lordspeak: cut the BS and impose a proper Oz style points system with a cap asap.
So to recap, overall we get no net economic benefit, we get crushed together like rats in a trap, and we risk who knows what rivers of blood. Meanwhile, our arrogant clownish clothead "government" denies there's any real problem, and is incapable of closing the door anyway.
Who voted for this exactly?
PS I've captured the recording of the extraordinarily smug Liam Byrne being interviewed by Humphrys this am. I will be using it in a vid for Tyler Telly, but meantime you can listen again here.