We need real growth: skills growth - wage growth - housing growth - industry growth
By adding ever-increasing numbers of people to the country, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has been able to calculate small increases in overall GDP to make it appear that our economy is heading in the right direction.
The reality, however, is that for decades our country has had low productivity, high debt, falling birth rates and a negative balance of trade.
GDP per capita - the most relevant measures for how well each household is doing - has also been declining - even when GDP overall has been slightly increasing. That's because our population has expanded massively by adding millions of people from abroad. This just means everyone's slice of the pie is smaller.
One of the main reasons government's choose to import cheap labour from oversees has been the false assumption that immigration can only lead to net economic benefit. What it actually does is keep wages low, disincentive businesses from investing in their staff, and suppresses our nation's overall productivity.
So, instead of only looking at superficial GDP numbers, we need to focus on real growth - skills growth, wage growth, housing growth and industry growth.
There has already been a lot of progress made by the Government in these areas that I've been proud to support. We have our new Investment Zone here in South Yorkshire focussed on advanced manufacturing, and a renewed push for technical and vocational education for over-16s. There's also been support for energy-intensive industries like steel, and a crackdown on poor value university courses that don't help young people find good jobs.
But we need to go a lot further in rebalancing our economy away from its addiction to high immigration and low productivity. We need to keep investing in training our workforce, encouraging people into employment with better pay and conditions, and supporting our productive manufacturing industries to expand.
That is the way to improve our economic outlook at the same time as tackling our unsustainable levels of net migration.
Legal Migration | Monday 4 December 2023
"I warmly welcome this statement and these measures.
I thank my right hon. Friends, the Home Secretary and the Minister for Immigration, for listening to colleagues on both sides of the House, and especially those in our New Conservatives group. Extraordinary growth in immigration levels over recent years has been masking some long-term structural weaknesses in our economy,
Such as low productivity, high debt, falling birth rates and a negative balance of trade, by propping up the OBR’s superficial GDP growth figures.
Does my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary agree that, in order to bring down immigration numbers permanently, the OBR must instead turn its attention to the kinds of growth that really matter to our constituents: skills growth, wage growth, housing growth and industry growth? In other words, real growth. Miriam Cates MP"
"I assure my hon. Friend that the Government remain relentlessly focused on those very issues. Increasing skills, increasing productivity and increasing investment in plant, machinery and technology to unlock the full economic potential of this country is at its heart. We will always make our case to the OBR. We will do what we know to be in the best interests of this country and of the people who work in this country. The Home Secretary, James Cleverly"