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UK economy is addicted to immigration but there are long-term treatments | Larry Elliott

UK economy is addicted to immigration but there are long-term treatments | Larry Elliott

UK economy is addicted to immigration but there are long-term treatments | Larry Elliott
Nov 26, 2023 1 min, 10 secs

The previous week, a bigger than expected fall in inflation was followed within hours by the supreme court ruling against the government’s plan to process asylum seekers in Rwanda.

The Conservatives are indeed committed to do that but in the four years since Sunak was elected on a manifesto that promised to reduce the number of people coming to the UK, net migration has increased by about threefold to a record 745,000 in 2022.

Some of the recent increase has been due to one-off factors – such as the granting of special visas to people from Hong Kong, Ukraine and Afghanistan – but even so the 2022 total was equivalent to two-and-a-half times the highest level reached before the Brexit referendum.

The main push factor is the desire to escape poverty, with access to modern media highlighting for poor people in Africa and Asia the much higher standards of living available in rich countries.

That would mean making good on promises to help poor countries grow their economies, providing the financial resources urgently needed for global heating adaptation and mitigation, reducing trade barriers, and increasing aid rather than cutting it.

Kicking this habit would involve much higher investment in the NHS and social care, a comprehensive industrial strategy designed to boost skills, action to help adults with numeracy and literacy, and tailored programmes to increase the number of people seeking to make the transition from welfare to work.

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