May should drop migration target says government committee

The UK Government's Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), up by Amber Rudd whilst she was home secretary, has said that there is "no evidence" that migrants from the EU have reduced the average employment opportunities for UK-born workers, and branded Theresa May's flagship pledge to cut migration levels down to the "tens of thousands" as a "political target" that is not a policy.

In its findings, the much delayed report states that on average, productivity has been boosted by the free movement of people in the UK from Europe, and contributed more to the NHS than they received.

Jonathan Portes, who contributed research to the report said: “Contrary to fears that immigration might reduce the incentive for businesses to boost productivity, my paper suggests the opposite: immigration has a substantial and positive impact on productivity. Areas that see inflows of immigrants see productivity rise."

“What does that mean for policy? The MAC are too polite to say so, but this report shows beyond doubt that the government’s economically illiterate net migration target should finally be put out of its misery. After Brexit, we will need immigration – for growth, productivity, and not least to help the public finances – more than ever.”

Sadiq Khan, London's Mayor, also warned that the report was a "missed opportunity" for the government to protect jobs and economic growth after Brexit. He also said that there was a "grave risk from Theresa May’s appallingly mishandled approach to Brexit, and from a government that is only motivated by its ideological and economically illiterate migration target – regardless of the cost to real people."

"British businesses will pay a heavy price if the government fails to protect their access to a European workforce at all skill levels in the future. Of course more must be done to give local workforces the skills needed for the jobs of the future – but responsibility for this lies squarely with this government, who have consistently failed to invest enough in education, skills and training." he said.

"Any decision by this government to prioritise reducing immigration at the expense of economic growth will damage our country for years to come."

A spokesperson for the Home Office said "After we leave the EU, we will take back control over our borders and put in an immigration policy that works in the interests of the whole of the UK."

"We will carefully consider the Migrationary Advisory Committee's recommendations before setting out further details on the UK's future immigration system."

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