Boris’s free trade agenda for Europe could be a social and environmental disaster for London and the rest of the UK.
Front and centre in today’s Queen’s Speech was the announcement that the government will be limiting the ability for certain migrants to use the Human Rights Act – and its provision for the right to a private and family life – to avoid deportation.
It’s increasingly becoming accepted, even on the left, that immigration to Britain under the previous government had some negative consequences, one of which was to depress wages and increase job scarcity for the indigenous population.
As well as pointing out the flaws in Cameron’s diplomatic strategy, pro-Europeans should embrace an agenda of reform where there is much greater likelihood of progress (and no need for a new treaty). This should include pro-growth and pro-democracy measures as set out in IPPR’s recent publication ‘Staying In’ as well as a closer look at EU rules on state aid, corporate tax avoidance, and access to welfare for intra-European migrants.
Since the Eastleigh by-election immigration has consistently been in the news, with all three parties making significant policy interventions.
Each party seems to be trying to outdo each other with rhetoric on how they’re going to crack down on migrants abusing public services, how immigration is out of control and how they don’t believe the official estimates and forecasts.
Britain has an immigration problem – but not of the sort generally supposed.
The facts show that immigrants are a net fiscal benefit rather than a cost, and that immigration is, except for a small negative effect at the bottom end, a net positive for wages (pdf) and for economic growth (pdf).
The problem is the public do not believe the evidence.
Over the last five days the leaders of three political parties have made speeches about immigration. Cameron’s latest speech suggests that there is now a race to the bottom on immigration.
Now that we’ve pulled apart the idea that newly-arrived immigrants are being fast-tracked to social housing ahead of indigenous Britains, it’s worth a quick look at the myth that immigrants are somehow a drain on the economy; that there is a pressing need to “get tough” with them, send them home, afflict various hardships on them, whatever takes your right-wing fancy.
Labour’s increasing lead in the polls indicates that austerity is more unpopular than the EU.
Wales is set to lose out financially because of the cut in the EU budget agreed by David Cameron and other European leaders.