Embargo: Immediate Monday 16 July 2007
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659


The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee have today launched a new inquiry into the economic impact of immigration on the UK economy.

Immigration has grown at a much faster rate than the Government predicted since May 2004 when eight Central and Eastern European countries joined the EU and their citizens gained the right to work in the UK. However it is estimated that in 2005 immigration from Central and Eastern Europe made up less than a fifth of total immigration. The Committee will investigate the impact of increased immigration, both from within the EU and from other countries.

The Committee recognise that immigration also has social, cultural and political implications, but this inquiry will focus on the economic effects.

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is 30 September 2007. Some questions the Committee are seeking answers to include:

  • What are the numbers and characteristics of recent immigration? How do the characteristics of EU migrants differ from other migrant groups?

  • In what sectors and occupations are migrants employed? How does this differ from local workers?

  • What impact had immigration had on the labour market, including wages, unemployment and working conditions of the UK Workforce? Does the impact differ between skilled and unskilled workers?

  • How does immigration affect the public finances? Do immigrants contribute more in taxes than they use in public services?

  • How has immigration affected public services such as health care, education and social housing? How does this differ across the country?

  • How can data on immigration be improved? How far has 'inadequate data' affected public policy?

Speaking at the launch of the inquiry, Lord Wakeham, Chairman of the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, said:

"Immigration has clearly had a substantial economic impact on the UK.

"The Government often point to the positive impact, allowing economic growth without inflation, while others have expressed concerns about negative effects on the pay and working conditions of low skilled British workers.

"What is clear in this argument is that there has not been a balanced assessment of the economic effect of the large scale immigration we have seen in recent years. We hope to provide that.

"Our inquiry is not intended to make judgements on the cultural or social impact of immigration; we are interested simply in its economic effects. Has it performed a vital role in filling vacancies in the labour market or has it simply undercut wage levels of British workers? What sort of impact is immigration now having on the availability of housing and on the resources of the education system and the NHS? These are the types of questions we will be seeking to answer and we welcome evidence from any interested parties."

Notes to Editors

  1. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Sunday 30 September 2007. The full Call for Evidence can be found at:

  2. The current membership of the Lords Economic Affairs Committee is:

Lord Wakeham (Chairman)
Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach
Lord Kingsdown
Lord Lamont of Lerwick
Lord Lawson of Blaby
Lord Layard
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston
Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay
Lord Paul
Lord Sheldon
Lord Skidelsky
Lord Turner of Ecchinswell
Lord Vallance of Tummel