Press Release: Labour's immigration policy is conservatism in progressive clothing

Commenting on the Shadow Home Secretary's policy announcements regarding UK immigration and migrant workers, Research Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, said: 

“Yvette Cooper is almost entirely wrong on the economics of immigration and her policy announcements today amount to a nearly wholesale adoption of the Conservative Party’s worst policy.

“Cooper’s position on low-skilled wages is baseless. According to the impact assessment published by the Home Office last month, if low-skilled immigration has any impact on low-skilled native wages at all, it is a minor and short-lived one. Immigration also seems to raise average native wages and have a positive impact on economic growth, neither of which Cooper mentions.

“It is baffling that Cooper can claim that immigrants are a burden on public services. As repeated studies have shown, immigrants pay more in tax than they cost in services – a phenomenon which over the next few decades can mean the difference between a national debt of over 180% of GDP and less than 60%. It’s possible that a huge liberalization of low-skilled immigration could change that, in which case reforms like charging immigrants a fee to reside in the UK or restrict access to public services would be a decent solution. There is no problem with immigration to which strict immigration controls are the best solution.

“Cooper’s announcement that students and refugees would be excluded from the net migration cap if Labour was in government is welcome, but the fact remains that Labour has accepted the facile “logic” of the net migration cap, is making no reforms to high-skilled immigration, and, like the Tories, is basing its immigration policy on anecdote instead of evidence.

For further comment or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778 207.

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