A House of Lords Committee headed by former CBI president, Lord Vallance of Tummel, has attacked the government in a report "The Economic Impact of Migration". The committee claims that immigration has had "little or no [economic] impact" in contrast to claims by Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, that £6bn has been brought into the economy by migration.
The Tories, Lib Dems and Sir Andrew Green from the right-wing MigrationWatch organisation have all jumped on the issue. Green claimed that the report has "torn to shreds the government's economic case for the massive levels of immigration which they have actively encouraged."
It's no surprise that a House of Lords Committee produced such a report. It's even less of a surprise that an anti-immigration campaigner like Andrew Green has spun the news in this way. Both have their own reactionary agendas to peddle.
Alan Fraser, Education Officer for the GMB Southern Region, who has built a 500 strong branch of migrant workers takes a different view:"The House of Lords comments on the economic benefits are a bit rich in my opinion. There's a large group of economically active people between the age of 18 and 40 who have been trained and skilled in their own countries. Britain has not paid for this training. If I want my granny looked after in a care home, the carer is likely to be a highly skilled migrant worker. Migrant workers are consumers as well as producers, they contribute to the overall well-being of the economy. Employers are happy with migrant workers because they can exploit them more than other workers. The economic argument is a red-herring.
We still live in a capitalist economy, it's still about exploiting the workers to make a profit. This is the issue. They don't care about general economic benefits. This report is about demonising migrant workers, we're about organising them!"