The Guardian have published the latest study on the effect of immigration on the economy. It seems to fly in the face of the propaganda spat out by Migrationwatch and The Daily Mail. It has not arrived in the DM yet (no doubt it is undergoing the sort of stringent checks all their other statistic based stories go through at the DM border control) but I await the usual disbelief from the usual suspects who will dismiss this as Government propaganda. The delicious irony is of course that they write into a newspaper that would make Goebbels very happy. He probably would have had his own Melanie Phillips type column.
I'm not saying that the figures should be accepted wholesale but it does show that there is another side to the story. There are issues as to whether (in some industries) the availability of so-called flexible workers is forcing down wages. The trade unions have also looked into this and the prevailing view is that there has been no discernible large scale detriment to wages. Indeed there is a concern that there is exploitation of some foreign workers through agency and accommodation fees.
The report also delves into local issues which have been rehashed on an almost daily basis by our friends at the Mail. The story of one Police chief mentioning there may be a problem when calling for extra funds (for other matters too) was regurgitated into every immigration story in the DM's online site. At the moment it is more concerned with squirrel pancakes, loos for the Queen and the sale of Hitler's globe.
Interestingly, David Davis who can usually be relied upon to provide a quote in tandem with Andrew Green of Migrationwatch does not appear to dispute the accuracy of the figures. Of course, it is likely that the same people responsible for carrying out the survey would have conducted any made by the Tories if they were in power.
There does need to be a debate on how to tackle any difficulties but let's move the debate into the adult world, and out of the xenophobic playground.
The article is worth publishing in full: there is also a pdf file of the report.
- Migrants are more highly skilled and often more reliable and hardworking than British workers and are fuelling the country's economic growth to the tune of £6bn a year, according to the first official study of their impact published today.
The report for the government's migration impact forum - which is considering the current restrictions on entry by Romanian and Bulgarian workers to the UK - also concluded that migrants on average earned more and so paid more tax than UK workers.
The joint Treasury, Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions study found that the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Poles and other east European workers had had "no discernible" impact on unemployment and had led to only a "modest dampening of wage growth" for British workers at the bottom end of the earnings league.
- The report said 574,000 migrants came to live in Britain on a long-term basis in the 12 months to June 2006, and 385,000 left, giving a net incoming figure of 189,000 - down 28% compared with the previous year's net inflow of 262,000.The first regional soundings by the government, also published today, showed that in seven out of eight regions in England migration had put pressure on housing, and five out of eight regions reported difficulties on crime and education.
- The overwhelmingly positive official verdict on the economic and fiscal impact of the largest wave of migration to Britain in recent years is likely to prove highly controversial.
The shadow home secretary, David Davis, accused Labour ministers of ignoring the fact that relying on immigration to boost the economy was only a short-term answer.
But the immigration minister, Liam Byrne, insisted the report demonstrated that Britain was better off with immigration rather than without it.
- He admitted, however, that the pace of change, particularly in communities that did not have a history of absorbing migrants, had been unsettling and had created challenges for public services.
- Mr Byrne said it was time for a "new balance" in immigration policy.
The migration impact forum meets tomorrow to discuss whether the restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian workers coming to Britain should be lifted. A decision is to be announced before the end of the year.
As a post script to this, I know that readers from Poland sometimes come to the site through google etc. I am due to visit Poland next month so would welcome tips on where to visit etc. I intend to go to Wroclaw (Breslau) and go to Auschwitz for one day.