24 December 2007

Migrant workers 'keeping interest rates low'

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The long term trend of economic growth in the UK will rise from 2.4 per cent to as high as three per cent if migration continues to rise at the levels seen in 2005 and 2006, a new report has said. Migrant workers also help limit inflation and subdue interest rates, according to the study from the Ernst & Young Item Club.

Increasing numbers of migrant workers have helped keep interest rates at historically-low levels while simultaneously helping stimulate further economic growth, a new report has suggested.

The Ernst & Young Item Club study has suggested that the average migrant worker arriving in the UK over the past decade has been as skilled as a typical UK worker, and added that the economy could suffer without such groups.

Long-term growth trends would hypothetically fall from 2.4 per cent to 2.2 per cent over the next ten years were there to be no immigration whatsoever, the report added.

"What is apparent is that in the last five years while over a million jobs have been created in the UK, over two thirds of them have gone to foreign-born workers," said the Item Club's chief economic adviser, Peter Spencer.

"Without a million and a half foreign workers since 1997, the UK economy would have suffered slower GDP growth, higher inflation and interest rates," Mr Spencer added.

Last week a study by the Centre for Economic Performance found little to suggest that immigration was having a negative effect on the wages of UK-born workers.

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