Yesterday I reported that Migration Watch had produced figures claiming that the economic impact of immigration from the 2004 EU accession countries is worth just 4p a day per UK citizen or “less than the equivalent of a small Mars bar a month”.
As I noted in my piece yesterday, Migration Watch’s figures for how much each person has benefited do not correspond with those from the Government, the London School of Economics or the Confederation of British Industry.
Today David Blanchflower, one of the nine members of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, hit out at Migration Watch, pointing out that immigration has been a vital tool in keeping a lid on inflation (which, though rising under Gordon Brown, is still under control). Immigration “has tended to increase supply by more than it has increased demand in the UK (in the short run), and thereby acted to reduce inflationary pressures.”
As for the oft-cited error that immigrants are stealing our jobs or pushing down wages, this is nonsense. Mr. Blanchflower and the two Bank of England economists with whom he co-authored the report, write that “empirical literature from around the world suggests little or no evidence that immigrants have had a major impact on native labour market outcomes such as wages and unemployment.
But the impact of these immigrants on employment has not been neutral. Oh no! It has in fact reduced joblessness: “There seems to be broad agreement that immigration is likely to have reduced the natural rate of unemployment in the UK over the past few years.”
So, just to get this straight, not only have these hard-working taxpayers added 0.5 per cent to GDP and paid £2 billion in taxes in 2005, but they have also kept both unemployment and inflation lower than they would otherwise have been.
Not only does that leave egg on the face of Sir Andrew Green, but it also demonstrates that the Government were stupid not to repeat the trick by allowing Bulgarians and Romanians to join our economy based on need and not bureaucratic bean-counting.