Is this a free market?


I noticed a piece in the Times last week which has stuck in my mind since then. The paper reported that government advisers had recommended that the number of skilled jobs open to immigrants from outside the EU should be cut by 270,000 because of the recession and rising unemployment.

On inspection, I find that the posts of 'quantity surveyor' and 'construction manager' are to be taken off the list of occupations with a recruitment problem. And the Migration Advisory Committee said the posts of all social workers, apart from those working with children and families, should also be removed.

I'm still troubled by this information. I really can't see why employers shouldn't be able to recruit skilled workers from anywhere in the world. After all, they may have better skills than local people, or be more motivated to work hard, or whatever – shouldn't it be up to employers to decide who they want, not Home Office bureaucrats?

It indicates too just how far the quangocracy intrudes into our lives. Yes, we have a Migration Advisory Committee – all on some vast salaries, no doubt. And yes, we tell employers who they can hire and who they can't. And then we blame our ills on the 'free market'. Sadly, our "free market economy" is free only in name.

Dr Eamonn Butler's new book, The Rotten State of Britain, is now available to buy now. Click here to find out how.