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Where the minimum wage is now the maximum


I run a business and that needs a number of part-time cleaners. Rather like Theodore Dalrymple during his years as a prison doctor, I get a bird’s eye view of society’s ills as an employer by watching the supply of cleaners to my business.

Twenty years ago when I started advertising, I would get two or three responses, mostly from older women in the village who needed a bit of pin money or who wanted to work for a few hours whilst their children were at school.

Now if I advertise for a job paying only the minimum wage, I can get eighty responses, such is the extraordinary effect of immigration.

When I recently wanted someone to live in, it was even worse (or better if you take it from my perspective as an employer). I received applications from every conceivable type of person – recently released prisoners vied with people with doctorates. People hailing from every country in the world applied. There was every possible age group – sixteen-year-old girls to seventy-year-old men, all desperate for a place to live – and this is for a job in the countryside. I live three hours away from London. Just imagine what is like in a place with a real housing shortage, such as the capital.

After advertising, my inbox became so full of messages that I had no choice but to give up replying to or reading them. How demoralising that must be for the people at the other end – to receive no acknowledgement at all. But too much choice fast becomes a logistical nightmare for a small business without a personnel department.

Unsurprisingly, 70 per cent of people in my area voted for Brexit. I saw it as a cry for help. The minimum wage had become the maximum wage in my area because of this constant and unrelenting oversupply of cheap, unskilled labour.

This is the reality of immigration that still our government will not seriously talk about. Having accepted the advice given to her by the Government-appointed Migration Advisory Committee, of which Lord Green of Migration Watch was searing in his criticism, Mrs May put any further debate about immigration to bed.

Labour is even worse with its talk of open borders in its blindness to the multiplicity of social problems associated with such high levels of immigration.

The background facts to which are these. Firstly that the EU issued over 994,800 new passports in 2016 – enabling that number more people to travel to look for work under its free movement of people principle. Secondly that unemployment in the EU remains at record highs:

More than four in ten young Greeks are out of work (43.2 per cent).
A third of young Spaniards (33.8 per cent) and 31.9 per cent of young Italians are jobless.

More than a fifth of young Croatians are registered as unemployed (23.6 per cent), as are more than a fifth of young Portuguese (20.8 per cent).

Back in the UK, there are now plans for one million houses to be built between Oxford and Cambridge and yet there is still little acceptance – other than by Migration Watch – of the direct connection between demand for housing and immigration.

To add to this, the UN says it wants open borders across the world; it has just declared that migration is a ‘human right’. This follows on the heels of a largely unreported declaration which recognises the advantages of migration, adopted by more than 50 European and African countries at a Morocco conference last May.

The minimum wage becoming the maximum wage would be a minor problem compared with the unemployment, social chaos and housing shortages that would occur if a worldwide open border plan ever came to fruition.

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