Up until this week, we were being told that only 0.8 million foreign migrants had come to work in the UK, while the labour market had grown by 2.7m new jobs. Now the Government has had to revise both figures, admitting that in fact 1.1m new migrants had entered Britain, while only 2.1m new jobs had been created. Far from creating "British jobs for British workers," it appears that Gordon Brown has been creating British jobs for foreign workers.
Except that it's all tosh, of course.
For one thing, Gordon Brown has created only about a couple of hundred thousand new jobs, largely by employing new civil servants, nurses and other public sector employees. Most of the 2.1m new jobs were created in spite of Labour efforts rather than because of them. They are private sector jobs, and a good job too.
But what of Brown's supposed crackdown on migrant labour? Does it matter that 52% of the new jobs have gone to migrants? And who is to blame?
The crackdown on migrant labour is boneheaded Labour nonsense and should be treated with disdain. A real policy of creating "British jobs for British workers" would be illegal under European law, and even if one would rather be out of the European Union it remains an ignorant and self-defeating policy. 1.1m workers are 1.1m workers, whether they come from Portsmouth, Poland or Peru. As long as they work hard they are creating value for the whole community; as long as they earn and spend they are creating jobs for other - mostly British - people; and as long as they are paying taxes they are contributing to the schools and hospitals that we all use.
That these "British jobs" could have gone to "British workers" is of course true, but it is not as though British workers could not have filled them. There are 1.65m unemployed in the UK, and one has to wonder why so many remain unemployed if we have had to import 1.1m workers from abroad to fill the vacancies. The explanation comes from debunking three myths:
- Jobs are not created by ministers and civil servants. They are created by businesses that can see a way of turning labour into profit. If they can hire a person and generate more capital than they need pay in wages, it is worth their creating a job. Those jobs were potentially there as long as people were willing to work at that price. It is the availability of foreign labour prepared to work at those prices that created those jobs.
- Britain's unemployed were more than welcome to apply for those jobs. Many may have done so; many more did not. There have been numerous managers interviewed for TV and the papers who have stated that they have offered jobs in areas of high unemployment for years and local people have not applied.
- We would not have created 2.1m jobs if 1.1m foreigners had not come here to work. As noted above, they spend their wages in our shops, require us to hire our teachers and use products made by our manufacturers. A significant part of those 2.1m jobs are feedback; many of those 2.1m exist because othes within that 2.1m (including within the 1.1m) exist;
The simple truth is that as long as we pay people not to work, we will need to import foreign labour to do the jobs that British people are unwilling to take on. On any day in the UK there are approximately two thirds of a million job vacancies. The problem in the UK is not too many foreign workers; it is too many British people who are not willing to take the jobs that are available.