Why is she always looking to rubbish their contribution?
Theresa May has made stopping EU FoM a red-line in the upcoming negotiations with the EU even , it would appear, at the the cost of loosing our membership of the Single Market.
There is plainly a large proportion of the electorate against immigration in general and against the Free Movement of workers into the UK in particular. However as Tony_nog explains in his excellent blog When is a Majority not a Majority? Brexit and Korean Restaurants there is no way that anyone can suggest that there is a majority in favour of stopping FoM at the expense of loosing our trading position with the EU — and it has been made very clear to all that the UK cannot have both.
So why has Theresa May taken this somewhat extreme position?
If one looks at her behavior over the past few years, it does begin to show a pattern.
In April of this year Theresa May, when Home Secretary, claimed that these EU migrants are “benefit tourists”. When pressed by the EU for evidence of this claim it came to light that in fact there was no evidence to back these claims as the British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK.
It is now being reported that Theresa May tried very hard to suppress any positive findings in a report on EU migration. Theresa May faces accusations from within government that she tried to remove evidenceabout the positive impact of immigration on the British economy from a critical report that was published before the EU referendum.
Again whilst Home Secretary, at the Autumn Tory party conference, Theresa May claimed that immigration is pushing thousands out of work, undercutting wages and bringing no economic benefit to the UK.
These are just not the facts, as any number of studies show. These claims are debunked in the blog Freedom of Movement isn’t the problem
A new book, All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class, by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, claims May refused to support Cameron’s hardline approach to negotiations with EU leaders and rejected his plans to ask for an “emergency brake” on immigration — a stance Cameron described as “lily-livered”.
Cameron’s director of communications, Sir Craig Oliver, says in his exposé of Downing Street that the former prime minister’s advisers used the nickname “Submarine May” because she never came to the surface to support his efforts. In his book, Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of the EU Referendum, published in the Mail on Sunday, Cameron’s chief spin doctor says the prime minister pleaded with May to “come off the fence” about Brexit.
How fanciful would it be to suggest that last June’s plebiscite is being hijacked to satisfy a personal vendetta?
Either don’t trigger A50 at all or at least build in a mechanism to stop the withdrawal if the exit deal not in the UK’s best interests.
If the UK enters negotiations with the EU without the ability to stop the process the EU negotiators will hold all the negotiating power. All 27 remaining countries will have a veto and the UK will have none.
If we “just do it” and trigger Article 50 notification of the UK’s intent to leave the EU as the John Redwoods et al encourage us then we effectively trigger a Hard Brexit. As soon as the UK notify the EU of our intent to leave the EU under Article 50 (2) we effectively hand over all negotiating power to the EU. They could, in theory, just let the 2-year clock run down and the UK would cease to be a member of the EU and no longer a party to the EU treaties.
It is generally accepted that if the UK had a method of stopping the EU exit process (triggered by notification under Article 50) it would strengthen the UK’s negotiating position however the wording of Article 50 is silent on the possibility for the UK to withdraw it’s notification to leave the EU once given.
The Government have chosen to believe that this means the UK cannot withdraw notification once given. However as the recent Gina Miller case showed, this Government’s grasp of the UK law is based more upon how they would wish the law to be rather than what it actually is. There is a test case about to go through the Irish Courts to establish if Article 50 notification can be revoked once given.
I believe that eventually, the ECJ will confirm that the UK can revoke Article 50 provided it can show that it is part of our constitutional arrangements. Indeed the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution in— The Invoking of Article 50 12th. Sept 2016 states that the “UK will particularly strengthen the legal position if they enact primary legislation to define how they will operate the Article 50 process and the UK will have a strong case to argue that any mechanisms enshrined with an Act of Parliament form our “constitutional requirements””.
And we now have Primary Legislation before the House – the Notification of Withdrawal Bill.
To make sense of this process the Notification of Withdrawal Bill needs to be amended to have two checkpoints:
Checkpoint 1 – during debate/committee stages of Notification of Withdrawal Bill
As part of the debate the Government should issue details of the proposed exit plan. The most obvious method of doing this would be to issue a White Paper.
If there is no sensible deal possible then the process should end here and an expensive negotiations exercise is avoided.
It is there is the possibility of a sensible deal then Article 50 will be triggered and the negotiations will take place.
Checkpoint 2 – At the end of the negotiations
The Bill should specify that there will be a democratic decision taken whether to ratify the Exit deal or not. This might take the form of a Parliamentary vote, a further ratification referendum or in a General Election with the candidates in each constituency either supporting or opposing the deal on offer.
The UK may decide to continue with the exit terms negotiated and leave the EU.
Should the democratic decision of the UK be that the deal on offer is not in the UK’s best interests then the UK would be able to withdraw it’s notification and stop the withdrawal process.
Ratification by the UK
By providing for a democratic ratification process for the UK at the end of the negotiation process the UK will have the ability to stop and indeed step away from the withdrawal process should it be necessary.
As Sir David Edward told the House of Lords in May 2015** “It is absolutely clear that you cannot be forced to go through with it if you do not want to: for example, if there is a change of Government.” and the UK would remain in the EU.
*Richard Tunnicliffe discusses this in his blog site in an article Negotiation Brexit — Shades of Article 50 @howshouldwevote.
** The EU Committee of the House of Lords considered this question in its report on “the process of withdrawing from the European Union” published on 4th May.
Currently Theresa May has made stopping FoM a red-line issue even at the expense of the UK’s membership of the Single Market. Without a healthy flow of EU migration the UK economy is likely to grind to a halt.
The UK has 3.2m migrants from elsewhere in the EU living in UK. 2.2m of them are in tax paying employment. EU migrants overwhelmingly contribute more to the economy than their UK native counterparts and take out less (mainly because on the whole they are younger and healthier). Studies have shown that they do not drive down wages and do no significantly displace UK natives from jobs. This blog looks at the positive contribution our EU migrant workforce make to the UK.
A FactCheck study on these claims showed that EU migrants rather than being a drain on the UK bank balance actually contribute significantly, far more than their UK-native counterparts.
According to the European Commission, between 2004 and 2009 free movement from newer member countries increased the GDP of the old EU member countries by almost one percent. The author believes that this estimate understates the likely impact on the UK GDP as with a total Tax contribution of £8.54B in one year these migrants income would be in excess of £40B per year (assuming a 20% base rate of tax) and will be spending perhaps as much as £20B in the UK economy (on food, accommodation etc.) which equates to a 3% increase in UK GDP.
A further study showed that where UK-natives (during 2001-2011) claimed more than they paid in Tax the reverse was the case for EU Migrants who contributed significantly.
At a time when our UK native workforce have been taking out more in benefits than they put back in Taxes paid the EU migrants have put money into the economy, paid taxes far in excess of benefits claimed and perhaps most importantly have been providing the Labour to keep these services going. This has never been clearer than with the NHS and Care workers workforce. Without EU migrants theses services would grind to a halt – approximately 55,000 of the NHS workforce are EU Migrants with almost 10% of our doctors coming from the EU and 75,000 EU migrants work in the Social Care Services. Our public services depend on EU migrants by Alan Travis estimates that 600,000 EU Migrants work in the UK public Sector.
With regard to pressures on the NHS and other public services, any decline in services would seem to be associated with UK government cuts in the Public Services budget rather than from immigration. A study of nationwide immigration data shows that immigration actually reduced waiting times for outpatient referrals. On average, a 10 percentage point increase in the share of migrants living in a local authority would reduce waiting times by 9 days.
A Channel4 FactCheck on the topic concludes:
“The Office for Budget Responsibility accepts the basic point that immigrants tend to improve the country’s finances. A major cut in immigration would mean tax hikes or more spending cuts, the watchdog has said.
This is because migrants tend to be younger and healthier, so they are more likely to be in work and paying taxes and less likely to be retired or to need healthcare.