UK Government migration target 'could cause considerable damage to economy'

Written by Kevin Schofield on 21 July 2017 in News

A House of Lords report finds that Theresa May’s aim of cutting net migration to less than 100,000 could harm the economy

Gatwick Airport - Image credit: PA Images

Theresa May's aim of cutting net migration to less than 100,000 could cause "considerable damage" to the UK economy, according to a House of Lords report.

The cross-party economic affairs committee has also warned that the immigration data currently used by the UK Government is "wholly inadequate" and could cause serious problems for ministers after Brexit.

The damning findings are contained in their 'Brexit and the Labour market' report published today.

The Prime Minister has defied many within her Cabinet to stick with her net migration target – which the Conservatives have consistently missed since first making the pledge in 2010.


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But the Lords committee said it "runs the risk of causing considerable damage by failing to allow the UK to respond flexibly to labour market needs and economic conditions".

The report also said that the UK Government will be formulating immigration policy "in the dark" unless it uses more reliable figures in the future.

"Increasing reliance has been placed upon the migration statistics to formulate and judge government policy," it said.

"Many of the available measures are wholly inadequate.

“In particular the long-standing and widely identified problems with the International Passenger Survey mean that it cannot bear the burden placed upon it and cannot be relied upon to provide accurate estimates of net migration."

Committee chairman former Tory Cabinet minister Lord Forsyth said: "Businesses will have to accept that immigration from the European Union is going to reduce and adapt accordingly.

"Some firms will need to raise wages to attract domestic workers.

“In other sectors, where migrant workers may not easily be replaced by domestic workers, firms will need to change their business models or increase capital investment in automated processes.

“All these options may lead to higher prices for consumers."

A UK Government spokesman said: "We are collaborating with the Office for National Statistics to develop a system which provides a richer statistical picture of EU nationals in the UK.

"The government is also working to develop a future immigration system which acts in the country's best interests and we will ensure businesses and communities are given the opportunity to contribute their views."

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