LONDON, United Kingdom – The Labour Party should be “ashamed of itself” for allowing uncontrolled European Union (EU) immigration to push down the wages and job opportunities of the working class, the former head of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said.
John Longworth, who resigned his post in March to campaign for Britain to leave the EU, said that immigrant labour allowed “corporates” to get away with failing to invest in British workers.
Speaking at the Institute of Directors, Mr Longworth said: “The European Union has been a disaster for working people in the UK. Migration has led to a low wage, low skill, low productivity economy because the unlimited supply of cheap labour for corporates has meant they haven’t bothered to invest in productivity improvement or in skills training.”
He added there were “half a million under-25s who are unskilled and unemployable in the UK”, calling this a “national scandal”.
It was also scandalous that Britain has a “low wage economy” when we are in an economic cycle where wages should be rising, Mr Longworth said.
Even though Britain has uncontrolled borders, he added, it still has a skills shortage in industries such as engineering because EU workers tend not have those skills.
“Because of the uncontrolled borders within the EU, the government is restricting access from countries outside the EU where those skills apply,” he said. “We need a managed, economics-based migration policy in the same way that countries like Australia and Canada do.”
John Longworth has been a director at firms such as Tesco, Asda and CWS. He served as Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce but became a “Brexit martyr” when he was suspended in March for backing the UK leaving the EU, allegedly after Downing Street pressured the BCC.
He resigned two days later in order to campaign for Brexit.
The Labour Party under Tony Blair allowed a record number of migrants to settle in Britain. Andrew Neather, a former adviser and speech writer to Mr Blair later recalled: “I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended … to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”