Labour’s pitch on immigration is counter-intuitive: enforce decent pay and conditions and fewer migrants will come. Once British people with families could afford to take those jobs, employers would lose any incentive to recruit cheap workers abroad. Stop bad employers undercutting decent pay with imported near-slave labour. As a message it may not quite work politically as it doesn’t satisfy the gut fears of the Ukip-inclined, but it has the advantage of taking real action against a real problem. Labour’s new determination to enforce minimum pay inspections and spread gangmaster legislation to construction and hospitality is more than welcome: Tony Blair and Gordon Brown adamantly refused both, appeasing employers with lax regulation.
Employers are to blame for importing so many of the unskilled, instead of hiring at home. The best favour tougher rules on pay and conditions to drive out cowboys who undercut good companies. A living wage imposed, for example, on all big supermarkets would work if they all had to pay the same. Almost all low-paid work is essential: a living wage would stop cheapskate employers scrounging off tax credits and importing what too often looks like serf-labour.
No, seriously, what is she on about? The way to stop immigrants taking all our jobs is to raise wages?
So, why do they come here? Because the pay is better. So, if we make the pay even better will more come or fewer?
And as to “all low-paid work is essential”. Has she never heard of replacing labour with capital? You know, like those self service checkouts? ATMs?
Our real problem is that some of the people who attempt to run the country believe this sort of tosh.