All our Yesterdays! Ian Jack, reviewing Chapman Pincher’s biography in the London Review of Books (5 June 2014) quotes an encounter the veteran journalist had with Harold Macmillan in the 60s:
A sad, otherwordly conversation with Macmillan occurs when he asks the retired prime minister why he didn’t foresee that recruiting London bus drivers and conductors in the Caribbean might lead to mass immigration. ‘We just never imagined that they would want to come here in such numbers,’ Macmillan says, in what became a mantra for British governments of both kinds. But couldn’t Macmillan’s government have solved the shortage of bus drivers by offering better pay? Ah, but that would have meant putting up bus fares ‘which would have made us very unpopular and cost us votes that could have been crucial in marginal seats’.
Fifty years later we have moved a full circle. According to research by Operation Black Vote, there are 168 constituencies where the BME vote has a decisive role to play in the marginal constituencies in the 2015 General Election.
Business Secretary Vince Cable: “In the decade since 2001, recent migrants from the EU paid in 34 per cent more tax than they took out in benefits and services. Far from being a mass of unskilled people, a third of European immigrants and 43 per cent of non-European migrants have university degrees, compared with 21 per cent of British adults. And overseas students make up around 17 per cent of the student population of 2.5 million and contribute £9 billion to the UK economy — making them one of our leading exports…One of the biggest categories of “immigrants” is overseas students — 176,000 last year, over a third of the total. They are not immigrants but they are defined as such because they are here for more than a year”. Evening Standard 3 March 2014
“According to official Home Office figures,student visas from India were down 24% in the year to the end of September 2013, on top of a decline of over 50% during the preceding year. Yet the British government has made relations with India one of its top external priorities. Why this folly? Because in January 2010 David Cameron offered a careless, populist election promise to reduce net migration “to the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands“. He made a rod for his own back…In 2011/12 international students spent an estimated £10.2bn on tuition fees and living expenses. The gains in terms of human connections, ways of thinking, cultural affinities and international goodwill are incalculable. A study done last year for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that 84% of former students retained links with Britain and 90% had their perception of this country changed – for the better. Imagine if sometime Oxford students Bill Clinton, Benazir Bhutto, Aung San Suu Kyi and Manmohan Singh had all been thoroughly alienated by the kind of treatment that my foreign students are now routinely experiencing.” Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, 17 Feb 2014
“Immigration is beneficial to the economy because new arrivals are likely to be of working age and contribute in taxes, the Treasury’s independent advisers have said. Robert Chote, the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, said letting more immigrants into the UK ‘does tend to produce a more beneficial picture’ for the public purse”. Rowena Mason in the Guardian, 14 January 2014
“For host countries, the overall economic impact of immigration may be positive, even if Britain’s growth was relatively sluggish before the crash. And press and politicians’ claims that migrants are a drain on the public finances is clearly nonsense. They are far less likely to claim benefits than those born in Britain and they make a large net contribution in taxes.” Seamas Milne in The Guardian, 2 Jan 2014
The boss of one of London’s biggest employers today called for more immigrants to be allowed into the UK – saying his chain has 1,000 unfilled jobs that Britons won’t apply for….”Since the immigration laws were tightened up two or three years ago, we are finding it harder and harder to hire staff, especially in London and the South East. People who would have worked here a few years ago now don’t want these jobs. We could fill 1,000 jobs across the UK tomorrow if we could get candidates to apply for them.” Evening Standard, 9 December 2013
…new arrivals have made a net contribution of £25bn to public finances (November 2013)
Recent immigrants were 45% less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits than people native to the UK and 3% less likely to live in social housing, says the report written by Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini.
Remember how immigration became a hot potato in the 2010 General Election. Gordon Brown declaring, “British jobs for British workers”
…David Cameron’s retort to Nick Clegg during the televised debate: “immigration was out of control these last few years and, from what Iíve heard, the Liberal Democrats would make it much, much worse”.
Brown and Cameron did not have the courage to reveal the facts to the British people – that without non-EU immigrants, the nation is in dire straits…..keep track of the back-tracking.
3rd September 2013
In a poll of more than 20,000 Britons, 77% thought it would help the economy ‘if the government were to clamp down on immigration and dramatically reduce the numbers entering Britain’…This research was produced by Lord Ashcroft, former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative party whose previous titles include ‘Blue Collar Tories, They’re Thinking What We’re Thinking: Understanding the Ukip Temptation’ and ‘What Are the Liberal Democrats For?
[However] A Home Office report in 2002 had the highest positive estimate, suggesting it produced £2.5bn in extra revenue for the Treasury. If, as a proportion of GDP, the costs and benefits of immigration were to stay the same, we could lose £3.8bn in 2013 if immigration were halted altogether…Even with detailed statistics on the demographics and intentions of immigrants, the cultural consequences of immigration are likely to be neglected in calculations. Counting the impact every T.S Eliot, every chicken korma and every iconic British business founded by immigrants from Marks & Spencer to EasyJet.
1st August 2013
As every study on the subject has shown, migrants contribute far more in taxes than they receive in benefits and services. An OECD report last month, for instance, found that they make a net contribution of 1.02 per cent of GDP or £16.3bn to the UK, since they are younger and more economically active than the population in general….we will need more, not fewer immigrants, if we are to cope with the challenge of an ageing population and the resultant increase in the national debt.
26th July 2013
Martin Amis: “..as England becomes more like America in the sense of more like an immigrant society people like that are going to have a bit of play for a while. It’s not going to be smooth that switch. It’s much to be desired I think. [It’s] a very complicated issue but in principle it would do England nothing but good to mix it even more.”
19th July 2013
“As of 2013, the EU’s working-age population (15-64) has started falling, and will be smaller by 50 million people in 2060 compared with 2008. Meanwhile, the population aged 65-plus will increase by 67 million. Only today, a report by Britain’s Office for Budget Responsibility warned that rising health, pension and social care costs connected to the country’s ageing population will increasingly put pressure on the public purse. So either Europeans start having loads of children, which is unlikely, or the continent will have to import migrants to work for its pensioners. I have yet to hear of a logical alternative option….”
24th May 2013
“…The government is making significant progress towards its target of reducing net migration to the UK to less than 100,000 per year. ….The decline in immigration has been driven in large part by falling numbers of international students. Focused on their target, it has made sense, at least in the short term, for ministers to focus on students, simply because they are the largest single group arriving in any given year (accounting for around 60% of non-EU immigration)….As well as bringing immediate economic benefits, foreign students bring dynamism, innovation, and international connections which can benefit the UK in the long term… ”
31st March 2013
“The economic benefit of immigration to the UK is revealed today in a report showing that halting net migration would cost every taxpayer in the country £137,000 over their lifetime…The [Migration Matters] trust, a cross-party pro-migration group, said migrants contributed more to the economy through tax than they took in benefits”.
25th March 2013
“British private schools and colleges today warned of a sharp drop in admissions of Chinese sixth form students as new evidence emerged that government immigration curbs are deterring foreign teenagers from studying here… Graham Able, chairman of Exporting Education UK and a former head of Dulwich College, warned today that Britain was now facing long-term damage. ‘What is worrying is that we are failing to develop a key export market and attract foreign earnings. The other danger is that we are going to lose out in the political and economic world in 20 to 25 years when these people are playing leading roles in their countries’.”
30th Jan 2013
“The five committees have all produced recent reports endorsing the call to remove students from the net migration target, arguing that current policies create the perception that overseas students are not welcome in Britain and warning of potential damage to an export business worth £8bn a year.”
9th Jan 2013
“The government’s increasingly tough rhetoric around immigration is threatening to deter thousands of the best international students from studying at UK universities and undermine the multibillion-pound market in foreign students, according to the head of the group that represents British universities”.
14th July 2012
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which was created in 2010 to provide independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances, said in its latest Fiscal Sustainability Report that higher levels of immigration over the next 50 years would spare taxpayers from the need to endure much greater austerity.
30th May 2012
The heads of universities across Britain suggest that a toughening up of rules surrounding student visas may drive bright applicants towards institutions in other countries. In a letter to David Cameron, they call on the Government to remove university students from net migration figures to help drive the economy and boost university income…Britain currently attracts around one-in-10 foreign undergraduates and postgraduates who study outside their home country. This generates around £8bn a year for the nation in tuition fees and other investment, it is claimed, with the total expected to more than double by 2025.
21st Jan 2012
Jonathan Portes in the Guardian: “…what are we to make of the Daily Telegraph article, by Chris Grayling and Damian Green, which states that 371,000 migrants are claiming out-of-work benefits?…we can say that migrants represent about 14% of all those of working age, only 7% of out-of-work claimants. In other words, migrants are about half as likely as non-migrants to be claiming out-of-work benefits. Much the same is true of people born outside the EEA (10% versus 5%).”
10th Jan 2012
“…the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, found that migration in local areas has had ‘essentially no impact’ on the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in those regions. The findings contradict warnings made last summer by Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, that uncontrolled immigration would lead to higher levels of youth unemployment and an increased burden on the tax system.”
Helen Warrell in the Financial Times, 10th Jan 2012
22nd Dec 2011
“Unable to attract enough applications from domestic nurses, Queen Elizabeth hospital NHS trust launched a major recruitment drive in Portugal in 2010″. This is precisely the reason why Enoch Powell, when Health Minister in the early 60s, recruited nurses from the West Indies!
3rd Dec 2011
The Government will find itself in the position of either having to allow continued immigration in the hundreds of thousands or jeopardising the country’s economic recovery, according to its own fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility.
14th June 2011
Richard Garner, Education Editor of the Independent, “Government plans to cut the number of foreign students at universities and colleges will cost far more than they will save, according to the Home Office’s own estimates.
Officials predict the clampdown, brought in because of fears that bogus colleges are allowing too many immigrants into Britain would cost the economy between £2.4 billion and £3.6bn.”
16th April 2011
Mehdi Hasan writes, “Can we talk about immigration and its economic impact? A government study in 2007 estimated that migrants contributed about £6bn to output growth the previous year. That’s equivalent to a 1.5% cut in the basic rate of income tax. Can we talk about this?
Can we talk about how immigrants, contrary to myth and legend, boost wages in the UK? A report for the Low Pay Commission found that between 1997 and 2005, immigration to the UK made a positive contribution to the average wage-increase experienced by non-immigrant workers. In the words of the report’s author, Professor Christian Dustmann of UCL’s Department of Economics: “Economic theory shows us that immigration can provide a net boost to wages.” Is this worth a discussion?…”
17th March 2011
“The government’s proposals to curb the number of overseas students coming to Britain could ‘cripple’ the thriving education sector, an influential cross-party Commons committee has warned…The move to curb the annual flow of 300,000 students into Britain stems from the Tory pledge to reduce net annual migration from outside Europe to below 100,000 from the 2009 level of 184,000″.
15th March 2011
“…Further details are also expected to be announced for the new ‘exceptional talent’ immigration route which will allow up to 1,000 migrants who have ‘won international recognition in scientific and cultural fields’, or have the potential to do so. …”
20th Feb 2011
“TENS of thousands of extra Indian migrants are to be allowed into the UK every year …the workers, most of them skilled IT professionals, will bypass the Government’s new immigration caps …They will be exempt from National Insurance in their first year, yet be able to use the NHS for free.
They will arrive as part of the multibillion-pound EU India Free Trade Agreement…”
18th December 2010
“The English Community Care Association said the temporary cap – which reduced by 5% the number of non-EU work visas issued – could have a potentially “catastrophic” effect on the care sector.
As 13% of those who work in care homes come from outside Europe, it said thousands of staff from the Philippines, India and South Africa could be forced to quit their jobs and this could damage continuity of care.
Vacancies created would not be filled by British staff, it said, as there was not sufficient demand for the jobs. It argued the cap had been introduced with ‘complete disregard’ for care providers and their staffing needs.”
8th December 2010
“Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK said it was wrong of [Home Secretary] Ms May to consider students as migrants…education sector has been lobbying politicians not to go too far in blocking overseas students because it would threaten a vital part of their fee-raising capacity just as they face budget cuts. Some estimates suggest international students bring £8.5bn to the UK economy each year. There is a fear that Ms May’s targetting of further education colleges and language schools threatens to damage a thriving export market”.
Financial times, 8th December 2010
23rd November 2010
“Academics and students warned that closing down student visas for those on ‘below-degree’ courses -about 40% of the annual total – would devastate the finances of further education and ultimately mean that British students would “have to pay even more for a university degree”.
4th November 2010
“In a speech today, the prime minister will announce that he is introducing a new entrepreneurial visa as well as allowing more intra-company transfers – moves that will blow a hole in his plan for an immigration cap…More than half of the ICT visas went to three Indian IT companies and the British IT industry has been pressing for them to be included in the cap. The largest single group of unemployed graduates is in IT.
The decision follows fierce lobbying by big employers including Nissan, Toyota and Honda who threatened to close UK plants if they cannot move staff freely.,,The decision means it will be harder for the government to get net migration ñ 196,000 last year ñ down to the ‘tens of thousands’ promised by the next general election.”
27th October 2010
“Executives from three of Japan’s biggest car manufacturers have issued a stark warning to the government that plans to cap the number of immigrant workers coming to Britain could have serious consequences for their industry. Senior bosses from Honda, Toyota and Nissan, which employ more than 10,000 people in Britain, delivered the warning to Damian Green, the immigration minister, today.
Changes to the immigration rules are due to be introduced next year imposing quotas on the number of non-European Union workers. They could be particularly damaging to Britain’s car industry, which is now almost entirely in the hands of non-European owners. The companies claim that imposing quotas would make it harder for carmakers to launch new models in the UK…”
26th August 2010
“At the moment the UK relies on immigrant labour, mostly from Eastern Europe, to pick seasonal fruit like strawberries and raspberries. Tens of thousands of workers are needed every year or fruit and vegetable rot in the fields.”