The TUC Report on Immigration


September 04, 2007

The TUC have not woken up to the impact of mass immigration, despite the arrival last year of nearly three quarters of a million foreign workers. Indeed, they are failing to defend the interests of their own members by promoting the ‘benefits’ of the current mass immigration while largely ignoring the downsides, says a report out today.

The report, by think-tank Migrationwatch, analyses the TUC paper on migration published with great fanfare in June. It finds that the paper is simply a selective rehash of previous research. The best the TUC can conclude is that "overall levels of employment and wages are slightly higher as the result of immigration". The report admits, however, that in some sectors such as construction British workers are losing out.

Significantly, it entirely ignores the effect of immigration on GDP per head which is the best measure of the benefit to the host community. All major international studies have found this to be extremely small as most of the benefit goes to the immigrants themselves. In Britain it amounts annually, on the government’s latest figures, to less than £1 per head per week.

‘The report fails to address the serious effects that the highest levels of immigration in our history are having on Trades Union members, such as pressure on housing, transport, schools and health services,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch. ‘By pretending that these important issues are of little consequence they do their members a great disservice as well as harming the credibility of their case.’ Said Sir Andrew: ‘The TUC are putting political correctness before the interests of their own members. Mass immigration is holding wages down, as the Bank of England keep telling us. And more worryingly for the long term, skilled immigration reduces the incentive for employers to train British workers which should be a matter of great concern to the TUC at their Congress in Brighton next week. Ironically, it has been left to employers to speak out. In June the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce warned that “skilled work hungry migrants are masking the tragic lack of skills so many of our school leavers have.” The paper even describes a policy of limiting immigration, supported by 75% of the public, as "an unacceptable challenge to free movement. This tells you where the authors are coming from – an approach for which there is very little support among the public or, indeed, among their own members,’ he said.

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