Worksop Guardian 31.05.2023
Last week we saw net migration figures of 606,000. Whilst I welcome those coming to the country with the skills we need, we must continue to make sure we train our own people adequately to avoid having to rely on those from abroad.
In future we may also need to raise the salary thresholds for skilled workers coming in, especially with what has happened with inflation and the general rises in salaries we have seen elsewhere.
With labour shortages and so many jobs unfilled, we need to take a tougher line on those Brits who are not working and who remain unemployed over the long term. I would time-limit their benefits and also target the part-time ‘top-up culture’, which so many full time workers who receive nothing in return are so angry at seeing.
If we want to grow our economy then we need to be braver and tell those who refuse to work that they need to get off their backsides and stop making excuses.
When I was growing up it was people complaining of a ‘bad back’. The 21st century equivalent seems to be ‘mental health’, which is accepted without question and seems to be affecting many younger people. Many cases will be genuine, but it is now being abused at ridiculous levels, with 2.5 million people off work with long-term sickness.
As a nation we need to demand the same resilience and work ethic that was expected of our forefathers and which some of the recent migrants from Eastern Europe put us to shame with.
Much of this also stems from the low wage economy we converted to under the Blair era, where foreign labour could be used cheaply to plug the gaps. Brexit has given us the opportunity to move away from this, but we must seize that opportunity and the related benefits.
Like many, it frustrates me to hear of so many jobs being unfilled, only to see benefits rising in line with inflation whilst wages struggle to keep up. It’s about fairness.
Whilst those in big houses with long gravel driveways may kick and scream about us needing to protect people, it is those who are ‘just about managing’ and those who work long hours and live next door to those who abuse the system who see how it really works. The same applies with antisocial behaviour and being tough on immigration. It is those who have to suffer the least from the negative effects of it who are the most out of touch.
A Labour government would make the situation even worse and they have already admitted they would expect net migration to rise were they to gain power. Immigration policy would be an open door to the world. But it’s not enough to tell people that a Labour government would be worse. We need to deliver and we need to do it now.