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Mass Migration: A Stealth Tax on the Working Classes

Mass Migration: A Stealth Tax on the Working Classes

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Ask any mainstream politician about taxation policy and they instinctively reach for the quiver, pull up their tights and begin chanting the mantra of “taking from the rich to give to the poor”. To the public it is the anaesthetic that dulls the pain of paying the government a portion of their salary, the accepted Marxist incantation “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” 

David Cameron and Nick Clegg will squabble like schoolboys leading up to next year’s General Election over who takes the credit for raising the income tax threshold, while Ed Miliband’s plan to reinstate a 50p top rate is designed to win votes rather than accrue revenue. It’s the default populist position; the age old desire to play Robin Hood to the opposition’s Sheriff of Nottingham is alive and well in Westminster.

But the truth, absent from any manifesto, is that for well over a decade UK governments, whether Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour, have been enacting a policy that cannot help but lower the pay of the poor while simultaneously increasing the wealth of the rich, and they will do so for as long as they are elected. Hidden from the masses by a crafty sleight of hand, and denied the oxygen of public debate by smears and propaganda, it is nevertheless true; since the UK opened the door to the A8, mass immigration of cheap labour has been a stealth tax on Britain’s working class.

A favourite trick employed by politicians to deceive the public is to mislead by quoting spurious statistics. The working class man who has seen his pay decrease, job security diminish and bills soar in the last ten years is constantly told that mass immigration has been good for the country, and as he tries to reconcile this claim with his own deteriorating circumstances, the magic GDP figure is produced to convince him that the economy would fall apart if this policy were binned.

That is arguable, but what is not is that contained within the GDP figure are some winners, but many more losers, and it’s the lowest paid that lose every time. Mass immigration of cheap labour makes the poor poorer and the rich richer, it is a fact, as the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration confirms. A stealth tax is applied to the wages of the bottom five percent of earners to pay for a tax break for the top five percent. For every one percent of the labour market taken by immigrants, the lowest paid lose 0.6 percent of their wages.

Who would expect it to be any different when the door is opened for millions of people, used to earning a fraction of the going rate in Britain, to compete with the British unskilled for employment by international corporations?

Employers and politicians claim that economic migrants are harder workers, and willing to do the jobs the British feel beneath them. David Lammy, a candidate for the next mayor of London, said as much in March when asked why British born workers turned down fruit-picking and jobs in coffee shops… “They don’t want to be security guards. They want to watch the X Factor.”

Well maybe this is why.

To illustrate the difference in wage expectation between residents of the A8 plus Bulgaria and Romania, and UK citizens, let us imagine a standardised minimum wage across the EU set at the current UK hourly rate (£6.31), and make a comparison using the actual minimums. This shows that economic migrants are effectively getting the following hourly rates when they take a minimum wage job in the UK:

Bulgaria

£47.18

Romania

£43.30

Lithuania

£28.10

Latvia

£25.49

Czech

£24.50

Slovakia

£24.41

Hungary

£24.31

Estonia

£23.15

Poland

£21.28

Slovenia

£10.82 

Who can blame people from any of those countries for working themselves into the ground for a minimum wage job? Why be surprised that their willingness to graft creates a favourable comparison with the “lazy” unskilled English youth? They are getting up to a 700 percent pay rise. Wouldn’t you be tempted to leave the UK if the going rate in the Sofia branch of Starbucks was £98,000 a year? Or if picking crops in a Carpathian field paid £7,500 a month? But for Brits that isn’t the going rate, (it would be £1,700 a year in Starbucks, and £159 a month in the fields). The argument that EU immigration is a two way street falls at the first fence.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown knew only too well that this would be the result of opening the UK’s borders to the continent’s poorest countries, but they were intensely relaxed about the damaging effect on the working class. If any dared complain… well, ask Gillian Duffy. That the policy continues under the Coalition is all the proof needed that there is nothing between the three of them on this issue.

So when “progressive” politicians try to buy your votes with promises of tax cuts for the poorest and tax hikes for the richest, remember that already includes a hike to the minimum tax rate and a cut from the top. If they compare hard working immigrants with “feckless” British youth, remember that economic migrants have the incentive of a staggering pay rise, while our own youth can’t afford to go in the opposite direction, and remember that while we are members of the European Union, there is nothing anyone can do about it.


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