Win for Labour as rise in immigration tribunal fees scrapped

cf396f1397427954fdb06c2c3fa3862d_400x400Labour celebrated an important victory on Friday, as the Conservative government took another U-turn by scrapping their proposal to increase immigration tribunal fees by up to 500%. This comes after campaigning by the Labour Party, and overwhelming public opposition to a government consultation on the subject.

Fees for a tribunal to deal with asylum or immigration cases had risen from £80 to £490, a decision taken by previous Justice Secretary Michael Gove.  Continue reading

The “right to free movement”

The British Empire was a source of large-scale migrations to satisfy labour markets.

The British Empire was a source of large-scale migrations to satisfy labour markets.

There have been recent signs of a change of tone in the Labour leadership on the question of freedom of movement. Some have opposed any sort of controls but in recent months John McDonnell has spoken of “managed migration” and Keir Starmer has said that when it comes to freedom of movement within the single market we should be “open to adjustments”. It is time to dig a bit deeper into the underlying assumptions. Continue reading

A left approach to Brexit

eu_minusukPaul Mason and Chuka Umunna would normally be expected to come up with radically different proposals with regard to Labour’s policies, yet they are putting forward more or less the same solutions to the most pressing problem underlying Brexit, that of Free Movement of Labour (FML), Mason in an article in the New Statesman, Umunna in a speech to a conference on ‘Progressive Capitalism’.

Essentially they are both concerned that the UK remains with access to the single market, and have both indicated that a position which regulates labour movement to some degree might be negotiable and therefore consistent with and acceptable to the Brexit vote. Leanne Wood, the Plaid Cymru leader, has indicated that a Norway type EEA position might fulfil the same objective. Continue reading

Corbyn is right: Migrants don’t drive down wages

CorbynIn his recent speech to Labour Party conference Jeremy Corbyn said, “It isn’t migrants that drive down wages, it’s exploitative employers and the politicians who deregulate the labour market and rip up trade union rights.” This is excellent and entirely correct. It is probably the best statement ever made by a Labour leader on this issue. It used to be regularly argued, and not just by far right or fascist groups, that immigrant workers take British workers’ jobs. This has more recently been supplanted with the notion that migrant labour has driven down wages. Both are equally wrong.

The claims that immigrants take jobs became harder to sustain as the level of the overseas migrant population reached record highs in Britain at the same time as a record high level of employment overall and a record high for employment of UK-born workers. Continue reading