The latest Labour Market report says more about the UK education and training systems than it does about the state of our labour market.
The Interim Labour Market report report issued today covering workers in the UK from the European Economic Area – or EEA -, should have the whole country looking at our education and training arrangements and asking our politicians of all parties serious questions.
Just in case you're not aware, the EEA is all 28 EU member states, as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Now, successive governments keep telling us how good education and training is in the UK. Look at all the apprentices they say, look at all the degrees and diplomas people are getting in our wonderful universities, our A-Level (or whatever the latest test is) grades are better than ever.
But for me this labour market report brings it all into question.
I'll give you a flavour with a couple of excerpts:
"The vast majority of employers do not deliberately seek to fill vacancies with migrant workers. They seek the best available candidate. When an EEA migrant worker gets a job, it is because the employer thinks they are the best, sometimes the only, qualified applicant."
And here are the reasons in the report given as to why an employer will take on an EEA migrant in favour of a UK born applicant:
1. "The necessary skills are scarce among the UK-born workforce."
Are we saying that with all the firepower of the whole UK educational, training and business establishment behind them, we are still not producing workers with the right skills? I thought that by now we would have identified those skills and done something about it. Or have we just got lazy and decided that it's far easier and cheaper to take other countries' people and not train our own workers properly?
2. "Migrants often have a higher motivation to work so are more productive and reliable."
3. "Migrants are prepared to do jobs in difficult conditions that the UK-born workforce are not interested in."
Are we saying that UK born workers are not taught a work ethic? Or do all our hard working students working with dedicated teachers suddenly become indolent layabouts the day they graduate or leave training? Or is the truth that UK born workers have commitments such as to their family that a migrant who comes over alone to work does not have, so has more flexibility?
4. "Low unemployment means a low supply of UK-born workers."
Even though we still have 1.45 million people out of work in the UK? And on this the report says:
"It is unsurprising that, with such a tight labour market, many employers reported increasing difficulties in recruiting workers and this is one reason why they employ EEA migrants."
Then it goes on to say how good that is for workers. The questions I would then ask is why have wages been stagnant for so long? Why so many zero-hours contracts? Why the need for a minimum wage? In a truly tight labour market where workers were needed wages would go up, but they haven't. So something is definitely amiss here.
Here's another one:
"Many employers expressed the view that EEA migrants are more motivated and flexible than UK-born workers – this included a greater willingness to work longer and unsociable hours, to welcome overtime, and a consistently strong work ethic. In addition, EEA migrants are often better-qualified than the UK-born for the jobs they do."
I repeat comments I made above. But now take out the word UK and put in any other nationality and see how long the progressives take to start wailing.
This report reeks to me of trying to justify open borders for the ease of big business, who can just buy in trained workers from elsewhere, while putting UK-born people down, which seems to be a central theme of this report – just as the establishment keeps on and on doing!
Moving on. We have been bombarded in recent days by claims that the Leave campaign colluded and conspired to overspend on the referendum and bend all the rules in order to win.
But Guido Fawkes says in his blog that the Remain side did exactly the same thing.
The Vote Leave campaign did give £625,000 to another group called BeLeave, but the Remain side funnelled about £1 million into five new campaigns set up weeks or even days before the referendum.
The Remain side also say that Vote Leave and BeLeave colluded together so breaking funding rules, but Guido points out that the Remain campaigns did the same, but on a much bigger scale.
This all renders the Remain claims of Leave wrongdoing redundant he says.
With one year and two days to Brexit day, the co-Chairman of Leave Means Leave, Richard Tice, says it is time to cast off the long shadow of Brexit negativity and count down the days, not the years, until we leave the European Union.
Writing in Brexit Central he says:
"The task for the current Government is to shake off our nation's pessimistic stoop of recent history and look ahead to the many opportunities Brexit will bring, with wide eyes and a straight back."
And to do that he says we must leave the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the EU customs union to allow us to control our trade policy, reduce tariffs for the everyday goods we need and get free ports set up and moving.
"Seizing the benefits of a clean Brexit gives this country so much to be optimistic about – 90 per cent of future global growth is predicted to take place outside of the bureaucratic borders of the European Union, so Britain should be out there with our sleeves rolled up, doing deals with emerging markets." He writes.
And he ends by saying there should be:
"….less talk of phantom 'problems', more talk of 'possibilities' aplenty."
Marvellous. Isn't it great to read a positive and optimistic view of the future for the UK for a change?