A letter from Sir Andrew Green
The Tablet, London
Your leader article ("What migrants do for us", 6 January) described as "tendentious" Migrationwatch analysis which suggested that the economic benefit of migration is marginal.
Some government ministers still claim that immigrants comprise 8 per cent of the workforce while contributing 10 per cent of GDP. This has been rejected by the Statistics Commission, the independent watchdog, because it counts only those in work – ignoring higher unemployment among immigrants and a smaller proportion of their womenfolk in paid employment. Accordingly, the Government’s latest Parliamentary answer (IIL 5379 of May 2006) revises their claim to 10.5 per cent of adults producing 11 per cent of GDP. Most people would regard this as marginal.
As for labour shortages, there were about 600,000 vacancies in 2001. Now, after net immigration of nearly one million, there are still 600,000 vacancies. Clearly, immigrants create jobs as well as filling them, so this argument leads to an endless cycle of immigration.
Migrationwatch are putting forward the facts of the case so that the public can reach their own conclusions and so that the political system can respond as appropriate. We are certainly not among those who your editorial implied are "spreading prejudice and misinformation on these matters.