People who immigrate to the UK do not take jobs from local workers, George Osborne has said.
The former chancellor said the hard data did not back up the claim that immigration meant lost jobs to British workers, contradicting the prime minister who told the Conservative party conference last month that she sided with people who had lost jobs “because of low-skilled immigration”.
Theresa May said: “If you’re one of those people who lost their job, who stayed in work but on reduced hours, took a pay cut as household bills rocketed, or – and I know a lot of people don’t like to admit this – someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesn’t seem fair … So change has got to come.”
Speaking to an audience of academics and journalists at the London School of Economics on Wednesday, Osborne said: “We are actually close to full employment in this country. So I think this sort of argument that, somehow, the immigrants are taking jobs that are leaving a load of people unemployed in Britain doesn’t really stack up.”
He did, however, say that many of the jobs that people could find were not of sufficient quality and that the skills possessed by the British workforce could be improved, adding that a skills shortage had been “big challenge and problem … for many decades”.
But Osborne said the data showed the UK’s employment rate to be one of the highest in the world”, while its rate of unemployment was “the lowest its been since 1971. So, I don’t really buy the argument that there’s a big pool of British people who don’t have jobs, who need jobs. I’m all for trying to improve the quality of people’s jobs and, actually, the most recent data showed that the incomes of the poorest 5% were rising at 6% a year, which is, I would say, an achievement.”
A recent study found evidence that migrants from within the EU did not take jobs from people already living in Britain and that there was little evidence of wage depression, even in the lowest-paid jobs.
Other research has suggested there is little evidence that migrants from outside the EU put workers already in the UK out of jobs in times of economic growth, though there was some evidence of displacement during the recession.
People moving to UK are not taking British jobs, says George Osborne – The Guardian