The consensus that mass migration makes us richer has been shattered

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That has not been the standard position of the OBR. It has forecast a £250 billion “black hole” in the UK’s public finances by the 2070s caused by lower birth rates and longer life expectancy. And it has certainly not been the mainstream view.

For years, the economic establishment has insisted that, while there may be concerns about the effects of mass immigration on our social fabric, no sensible person could argue against its economic benefits. It brought in lots of young workers, who would take on jobs that needed doing, and lots of highly skilled workers, who would become NHS doctors. They replenish the Treasury coffers and plug skills gaps.

Immigration, it was claimed, would bring some much needed energy and dynamism to the country. Imposing any restrictions on it would do huge damage to the economy. As a consequence, the population of the UK rose by around four million in the two decades to 2021. 

Even after we left the EU, and were able to put some restrictions back on the numbers, the Government, fearful of its impact on the economy, failed to “take back control” in the way most people understood it. The result? Net migration hitting a record 600,000 in one year alone.

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