Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Corbyn is right. Migrants don’t drive down wages"

"In his recent speech to Labour Party conference Jeremy Corbyn said, “It isn’t migrants that drive down wages, it’s exploitative employers and the politicians who deregulate the labour market and rip up trade union rights.” 

This is...entirely correct. It is probably the best statement ever made by a Labour leader on this issue.
It used to be regularly argued, and not just by far right or fascist groups, that immigrant workers take British workers' jobs. This has more recently been supplanted with the notion that migrant labour has driven down wages. Both are equally wrong.

The claims that immigrants take jobs became harder to sustain as the level of the overseas migrant population reached record highs in Britain at the same time as a record high level of employment overall and a record high for employment of UK-born workers. 

Even so, the most recent Tory party conference tried to revive the racist claims, with lists of foreign workers, removing overseas doctors from the NHS and prioritising immigration controls over economic prosperity. Some of these have already fallen apart while they would all be deeply damaging to the UK economy, as well as fanning the flames of racism.
In fact, as shown in Chart 1 [above] the record number of migrant workers now coincides with a record employment rate for workers in the UK. 

Since the beginning of 1997 the number of migrant (non-UK born) workers in the UK has risen from just under 2 million to nearly 5.5 million in mid-2016. At the same time the employment rate of workers in the UK has risen from 70.8% to 74.5%, a new all-time high (the unemployment rate is also close to its all-time low at 4.9%). No-one is having their job taken by a migrant worker."

Read more from source here.


Phil Evans said...

The issue is wage levels not the employment rate. They are stagnating and have been for years. Mass immigration is clearly related to this fact.

Brett said...

Thanks for your comment, Phil. Sorry to take so long to get back to you.

I agree that wage levels are the problem much more so than the employment rate. Immigration is mainly a problem when employers use cheaper illegal labour and the government does not fund public services properly. Then, there are too many people without the services the all need.

Phil Evans said...

I cannot agree and would observe that this is fundamentally a matter of supply and demand. Illegal immigration and exploitative practices have only a marginal impact overall. Mass migration on the scale we have seen in the last decade or more is an indefensible attack on wages and the lower down the income scale, the greater the impact.

Brett said...

I can't see how that is the case Phil but I have an open mind, as always. What evidence do you have (that you can share) to support your view?