Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Speaking in the Budget Debate, Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said the Chancellor‘s most significant measures had been widely ignored. They were his plans to promote mass immigration to boost Britain‘s labour force. This is not bringing the economic benefits the Chancellor claims but is a major cause of our social ills – above all the housing crisis. It is what is dictating the government‘s determination to build over the Green Belt – for example west of Stevenage.

    Speaking after the debate, Peter Lilley said: “The government‘s measures have already generated a net inflow of 200,000 overseas workers per annum. Close inspection of the budget documents shows the government plans to boost it even further. Work permits have already risen from 47,000 a year to 140,000 last year and the government plans to issue 200,000 this year. Although the Chancellor pretends he is promoting an inflow of Highly Skilled Workers, that programme involves only 1,300 a year. Yet he is also introducing schemes to bring in 20,000 more lower skilled people in the hospitality and food processing industries.

    “The Chancellor claims that a large flow of immigrants accounts for America‘s economic success. Of course more workers mean more output. But the inflow of immigrants has not increased the incomes or productivity of the existing workforce. Output per head in America has grown at the same rate as in Europe which has had little immigration.

    “The Chancellor deplores Britain‘s housing shortage. But he ignores the fact that it is this huge inflow which has largely caused the problem. The measures he announced to undermine planning laws will scarcely dent the problem. Britain will need to build every year over twice as many homes as there are in Hitchin and Harpenden just to cope with the existing inflow. Two thirds of the new workers come to the South East. That is why Hertfordshire – already the most densely populated county outside London – faces such intolerable pressure.

    “People seem too cowed by political correctness to mention these obvious facts. But it can never be wrong to tell the truth.”