Immigration – issues (1)

One of the new Governments policies is to hold a referendum on membership of the EU. A number of factors have led to this situation ranging from a general anti-Europe mentality, a desire to reduce ‘red tape’ and the impact of immigration on the UK.

The ‘debate’ on immigration has been limited, partial and often resorted to simplistic soundbites such as ‘skiving British workers versus hard working foreign workers’. Supporters of immigration often argue that increasing the population has no impact on housing, that increasing the labour force has little impact on earnings. This seems unrealistic at best at worst disingenuous. An increase in population leads to a need for more housing which has a cost associated with it.

Supporters often state that with increased numbers of workers then total output in the economy has increased. Indeed. That is undoubtably correct but at the same time irrelevant. It is not total output that matters so much as output per person. A recent report on Migrant workers in Northern Ireland pointed out that the influx of workers had helped to sustain the food processing industry yet also raised the point that “some may validly argue this has potentially slowed a necessary transformation away from such lower-skilled, low-wage occupations towards a higher-value economy with more high-skilled jobs).”

What is never mentioned is the overall environmental impact of increased population growth with its potential effect on land use and climate change.

We shall return to these issues at a later date but we should bear in mind that immigration into the UK as with in-migration into Cornwall has impacts on society, economy and the environment.


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