There have been many reports which positively link high net migration to the UK to its economic achievements, however recently this statement has received backing from the UK’s own independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
The report lead to the Chancellor, George Osborne’s, promise to be running a budget surplus by 2020. But while the Chancellor failed to address the logistics of how such a surplus could be achieved, the report released by the OBR seems to show that such a promise can only be achieved with the help of high net migration figures; revising their original figure of 105,000 expected migrants per year to 185,000. The report states that the economic growth will be directly related and unachievable without the help of high net migration figures, notably from those migrants who will be coming to the UK to join the workforce. Further had the figure remained at the original cited amount the impact upon the UK deficit would have been insignificant.
Such a report goes directly against the Government’s own policy to dramatically reduce net migration to ‘manageable levels’, whilst also contradicts the current trend of cracking down on the immigration routes still open to migrants hoping to reside and contribute to life in the UK.
It seems therefore that if such migration rates are to be met, so that the government can deliver on its budget promises, then arguably the government cannot rely solely upon EU migration of which it cannot control. Alternatively it could look to actively relax its current stance on skilled workers to the UK. Current and recent migration trends have seen a direct effort by the government to force down the amount of migrants coming to the UK to join its skilled workforce, as routes within this category are tightened up and overall made more difficult to enter. However if the OBR report is to be believed it is this route the UK government should be encouraging migrants to follow, if it is to meet its expected surplus by the end of the decade.
Predictably when confronted with the report’s findings the Chancellor denied that net migration was the only way in which to achieve his surplus promise, instead citing the government’s plans to focus on the skills of the settled workforce in order to achieve his goals. However despite the Chancellor’s response the message seems clear, net migration to the UK seems to be the most obvious key to the UK’s fiscal future.
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