Migrant Workers Positively Benefiting The UK Economy Says The TUC

The influx of migrant workers from Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, is having a positive impact on the UK economy. Across the economy, the arrival of the migrant workers has not depressed jobs or wages - and far from being a drain on the UK’s welfare state, migrant workers are paying more in taxes than the value of the public services they receive. These are the main findings of a new report from the Trade Union Congress.

Although there is limited evidence of some local effects on wages and employment for low-skilled workers, the report says that so far, low-skilled workers have not lost out thanks to the fact that the UK economy remains vibrant. However, for this to remain the case, the supply of jobs to all workers – and services for displaced workers and unemployed people to get even better jobs – needs to be increased.

The report also finds little evidence that immigration has driven down wages. Effective enforcement of the UK minimum wage must be a greater priority than it is at present say the TUC - migrant workers who are paid less than the minimum wage are being exploited and the emergence of a large group of employers habitually breaking the law could undermine the minimum wage's effectiveness for all workers.

The arrival of migrant workers is not problem-free as any unplanned population change can put strains on an area if the social and housing infrastructure cannot cope.

The TUC argues that a share of the extra prosperity that migrant workers are contributing to the economy should be used to ensure local public services can deal with new workers.

Commenting on the report, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

“Migrant workers are making a substantial contribution to Britain's economy, and some sectors would collapse if they were removed overnight. They haven't caused mass unemployment or held wages down as some would have us believe.

“But we do not do enough to protect vulnerable workers, whether migrant or indigenous, from exploitation. If migrant workers are treated fairly and paid a decent wage they can only add to the economy, and pose no threat to the livelihoods of the rest of the workforce.

“The availability of migrant workers should not stop employers or government helping unemployed and disadvantaged UK citizens into work, nor stop efforts to give the low skilled the new skills they need to improve their job security and help them get better jobs.”

Figures from the Treasury show that migrant workers are responsible for around ten per cent of the UK’s economic growth.

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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