David Davis this year:
The first reason for Labour’s commitment to mass immigration was obvious. If you bring vast numbers of immigrants into the country, this inflates economic growth figures, even if they all only earn a minimum wage. This of course flattered Gordon Brown’s performance as Chancellor, even though it did not increase the income per person of the population at all.
The second reason was even more cynical. A combination of measures, from the minimum wage to Brown’s easy credit and low interest rate policy, all threatened to increase inflation, particularly wage inflation. Bringing in large numbers of immigrants depressed wages, particularly for unskilled workers. For low skilled jobs in places with high immigrant populations, like London, the minimum wage almost became a maximum wage. In the high immigration years from 2004 onward, the income of the bottom 20% fell despite the economic boom.
Third, Labour’s immigration policy helped disguise a serial failure in the education system. Britain was simply not providing enough young people with the range of skills and personal attributes a modern economy needs. The answer was simple; plug the gap with recruits from everywhere from Poland to Pakistan, from Estonia to India.
Finally, it also covered up another even more serious problem, largely created by Brown himself. When he became Chancellor, Brown imposed complex welfare schemes that undermined our national work ethic. All too often it paid more to stay at home than go to work. As a result we have created a generation where many accept life on welfare.
During the boom years of 2004-2008, youth unemployment grew by 100,000. Labour’s welfare and immigration policies combined to institutionalise a generation into the habits of unemployment.