Press Release: UKIP’s proposal to lower UK migration cap is intellectually and morally bankrupt

Commenting on UKIP’s upcoming announcement that its general election manifesto will pledge to bring UK net migration down to 50,000 people per year for employment, Research Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, said:

UKIP’s line on immigration is intellectually and morally bankrupt. Despite what UKIP claims, immigration is good for virtually everyone in society, rich and poor alike. The evidence is clear that even low-skilled immigration only hurts low-skilled native wages temporarily, and does not affect the number of jobs available to natives at all. The reason for this is that immigrants demand services as well as supplying them: every job taken by an immigrant also means a new job will be created to supply him or her with their needs.

Opposing immigration is economically no different to 19th Century-style trade protectionism – the only difference is where the people we’re trading with are. Economists, left and right, agree that trade makes everyone richer, and immigration just allows us to trade with more people more often at home. One of the best things about the EU has been the guarantee of free movement between member states; to throw that away would be an economic catastrophe. If UKIP’s priority is to leave the EU, it is vital that they maintain open borders with the EU.

Immigrants are a huge boon to the welfare state. Because they are usually young and motivated to find work, they pay more in taxes overall than they cost the state in services. As Britain gets older, with more and more retirees to provide for with pensions and healthcare, we will need more immigrants to avoid a massive debt crisis by 2050. Far from being a cost to the state, immigrants may be the only way to fulfill our obligations to the older generation.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.


The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Ben Southwood criticizes the Bank of England for hiding details of its lender aid in CityAM

The Adam Smith Institute’s Head of Policy, Ben Southwood, was quoted in CityAM, criticizing the Bank of England for hiding its data on lender aid.

And Adam Smith Institute economist Ben Southwood is also critical.

“By purging details of emergency liquidity support from the 170-year-old Bank Return, the Bank of England is trying to paper over its failures by simply hiding them, not to mention moving out of step with almost every major central bank,” he warned.

Read the full article here.

Ben Southwood is quoted in CityAM on the problems with Labour’s proposed mansion tax

The Adam Smith Institute’s Head of Policy, Ben Southwood, was quoted in two CityAM articles on the problems and inefficiencies of a mansion tax:

Meanwhile Adam Smith Institute’s head of policy Ben Southwood dubbed Miliband’s measures as “bizarre”:
Labour’s proposal to tax expensive houses and hypothecate the funds for the NHS is bizarre. Although property value taxes are among the least inefficient taxes, and shifting the burden from costlier taxes like stamp duty land tax, corporation tax and income tax is a good idea, we already have a perfectly good property tax system: council tax.

Read the full articles here and here.

Press Release: Miliband should fix council tax, not go for mansion tax cash grab

Commenting on Ed Miliband’s expected announcement that will propose a mansion tax to further fund the NHS , the Adam Smith Institute’s Head of Policy, Ben Southwood, said:

Labour’s proposal to tax expensive houses and hypothecate the funds for the NHS is bizarre.

Although property value taxes are among the least inefficient taxes, and shifting the burden from costlier taxes like stamp duty land tax, corporation tax and income tax is a good idea, we already have a perfectly good property tax system: council tax.

The only problem with the council tax system is that, for political reasons, it has not been revalued since 1993, massively distorting the system. It makes no sense to create a whole new property tax system at an arbitrary £2m cutoff point: instead, council tax should be revalued and remodeled along more progressive lines, to reduce the tax burden on people in less expensive properties.

Instead of trying to grab more cash for central government, Ed Miliband should be focused on sorting out the massive distortions in the property tax system instead.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.


The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Dr Eamonn Butler argues against Miliband’s proposal to raise the minimum wage on BBC Five Live

Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, took part in a heated debate with Charlie Kimber – National Secretary of the Socialist Workers Party -  on BBC Five Live. Dr Butler argued that Ed Miliband’s proposal to raise the minimum wage will make it harder for the poorest in society to find jobs and increase unemployment numbers in the UK.