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Embargo: Immediate Wednesday 11 June 2008
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659

LORDS ECONOMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE RESPOND TO GOVERNMENT ON ECONOMIC IMPACT OF IMMIGRATION

The Government has today published their response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report The Economic Impact of Immigration. The Government's response was published by The Home Office (Command Paper 7414)

Lord Wakeham, who chaired the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into the Economic Impact of Immigration, said:

"I am delighted that, behind much spin and bluster, the Government appear to accept most of the Committee's main conclusions and recommendations.

"It is most welcome that the Government now recognises that 'GDP per capita must be the principal determinant of success'. This is an immensely significant change from the Government's constant emphasis - prior to the Committee's inquiry - on the impact on total GDP, when it regularly quoted a meaningless figure for 2006 of £6 billion. To suggest that the Government's new emphasis on GDP per capita was always there is simply a re-writing of history.

"But one key recommendation of the Committee not yet accepted is that the Government should have 'an explicit and reasoned indicative target range for net immigration' - not a cap or quota - and that it should then adjust its immigration policies in line with that broad objective. I am sure the Government will find that it will need to reflect further on this recommendation, in view of the profound implications of a significantly increasing total population.

"The Government's separate report, also published today, on the impact of immigration implicitly recognises the force of the Committee's conclusions about the impact of immigration on housing and public services like education. But whether the Government is ready to do enough to ease these pressures is uncertain. Unless there is at least an indicative target range for net immigration, it is difficult to see how Government can judge what resources are needed to cater for the immigrants' arrival in the UK."

Notes to Editors

  1. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report The Economic Impact of Immigration is available at:
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldeconaf.htm
  2. The Governments response Command Paper 7414 is available at:
    http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_economic_affairs.cfm

For further details on the inquiry or to request an interview with Lord Wakeham, please contact Owen Williams, Head of Press and Media, House of Lords, on 020 7219 8659.