Commenting on the migration figures released this morning, Tom Brake MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:
“Immigration is a net benefit to our economy. EU workers make a valuable contribution to key sectors of the economy, from agriculture to our creative industries. UK businesses hugely value the importance of labour mobility and the vast majority come to the UK to work.
“Many people, however, have concerns about the pace of migration and the impact this can have on local communities. Tackling these concerns should be the Government’s aim, focusing on both EU and non-EU migration.
“Care must be taken. The OBR have been clear that cutting migration will hit the economy and increase borrowing, while vital sectors of the economy have warned of the damaging impact if EU workers are restricted. Free movement of people needs reform but we should be careful of throwing the baby out with the bathwater."
Notes to editors
The Office for Budget responsibility has shown that lower migration will increase borrowing by £16 billion between 2016/17 and 2020/21, with borrowing £6 billion a year higher in 2020/21:
Major UK retailers Morrisons, Sainsbury's, M&S and the National Farmers' Union have today said that migrant workers are essential for their businesses:
The agricultural sector has warned falling numbers of EU workers could lead to labour shortages:
The Centre for Economic and Business Research has said that cutting immigration from the EU “would be a body blow” to the UK’s creative industries sector and “would have a significant impact on UK GDP growth”:
Open Britain has called for “mending and not ending” the free movement of people: