Migration data - PwC chief economist comments

Published at 13:06 PM on 28 August 2014

Commenting on today's new data on net migration, John Hawksworth, PwC’s chief economist, said:

"Net long-term migration rose sharply to 243,000 in the year to March 2014, which was the highest level seen since 2011. These trends are consistent with relatively strong growth in the UK drawing in workers from elsewhere in the EU, where economic growth has been much more sluggish over the past 18 months. In the face of these economic forces, attempts to limit net migration to the 'tens of thousands' appear like King Canute trying to hold back the waves.

“New immigrants, although often relatively highly skilled, tend to work in sectors such as retailing, hotels and catering with relatively low wages. This has reduced the overall 'batting average' for UK wages, which helps to explain the relatively low growth in average earnings over the past year, despite strong jobs growth.

“Skilled, hard-working immigrants definitely bring benefits to the economy, including paying taxes and spending much of the money they earn on UK goods and services. But they also put additional pressure on public services such as health and education whose budgets have been constrained by austerity programmes in recent years."



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