May's rhetoric channels Thatcher but policies deliver Miliband

Following Mrs May’s speech, in which she channelled the spirit of Thatcher but delivered the policies of Ed Miliband. Sam Dumitriu, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, said:

On Ending Freedom of Movement and restricting immigration:

“The Prime Minister was right to unequivocally back business and make the moral case for markets and freedom. But her rhetoric is betrayed by her policy on free movement. Pulling up the drawbridge when Britain has a record number of vacancies is a mistake and trying to plan the labour market from central government will make Britain a worse place to do business.

“Her comments on training and investment simply don’t match up with reality. The Government’s own Migration Advisory Committee found no evidence Freedom of Movement reduced investment or led to firms cutting training budget. In fact, the MAC found that migration led to higher productivity growth for native workers.”

On Stamp Duty on Foreign Buyers:

“Taxing foreign homebuyers won’t make housing more affordable, only building more homes will do that. So-called Buy to Leave is a myth – just 1% of new homes bought by foreigners are left empty. When foreigners buy property they either rent it out or live in it themselves. Advance sales to foreign investors allow more homes to be built for rent. Without that investment, fewer homes would be built, rents would be higher and it would be harder to scrimp and save for a deposit.”

On letting councils borrow to build:

“Too often councils are the barrier to, not enablers of, new housing. Councils with the greatest need for quality new housing are those least likely to build it. Rents have risen the fastest in those areas precisely because those local authorities are most likely to block development and give in to the Nimbys.

“Unfortunately I fear the councils most likely to borrow to build are the ones most likely to build in the wrong places and require taxpayers to bail them out.”

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