Let’s go for higher wages, not more cheap labour

Many people are tired of the model of business which keeps inviting in people from the continent to take low paid jobs. No wonder we have a productivity problem, as recruiting tens of thousands each year to low productivity low paid jobs has become common.

I want business to employ more people who are already settled here. I want them to offer better wages to encourage more people into work. Because wages have to be earned that means offering training and investment support to each new worker so their productivity  justifies the better pay. More computing power is needed to raise productivity in clerical and administrative functions. More machine power is needed in warehouses, on building sites and in older factories, to make the task easier for employees.

It is better to employ fewer people on  better pay, and to seek to motivate and mentor them so they earn their wages and get more out of their jobs. There are many good firms in the UK who do a lot to nurture talent, to give people a second chance if they did not do well at school and need some educational support as adults. There are companies that like to promote from within, to give people a clear sense of career progression and opportunity within the firm. Good bosses welcome talent, foster better standards and higher achievement, and  understand the training and motivational needs of their employees.

Getting the right structure of rewards and incentives is not easy. If there is no financial recognition of superior effort and achievement it is difficult to drive a business to higher levels of  quality and efficiency. If there is too much emphasis on one or two variables that determine a bonus, it can distort the efforts of staff or even lead to unwelcome practices as we have seen in some companies where bonus calculations lead to conduct which is not in the customer interest. Successful bonus and pay rise schemes align the interests of the employee with the interests of the customer, and therefore also work for the shareholder.

In every business all staff need to know they are important and what they do is important. They need to know there is plenty of opportunity to learn and to gain higher pay and more responsibility if they are good. They also need to know above all else that everything they do has to be for the benefit of the customers, who pay their wages as well as the shareholder dividends.


  1. Iain Gill
    September 25, 2018

    Its not just from the continent!

    The whole way intra company transfer visas are abused needs fixing. They were originally designed to allow international organisations to bring in people with specific skills unique to their organisation in. This has morphed to nowadays the vast majority are issued to generic IT staff from low cost base economies hired by one of the big outsourcers, they are then moved to the UK and subcontracted into our other big organisations for less than it costs to hire a Brit. This is done by the tens of thousands of workers.

    There are also lots of tax perks to using people on these visas, for instance they get the first year in this country completely free of both employers and employees national insurance, such perks allow them to further undercut locals.

    All this means employers no longer bother hiring or training locals, they simply use cheaper staff brought in by the outsources.

    We need to return intra company transfer visas to their original purpose, small numbers for people with genuinely unique skills to that company.

    We need to apply the “resident labour test” and force generic IT staff to use normal work visas, so if there is already an oversupply of skills in that skill area then visas are tightly restricted. Work visas only where there are genuine skills shortages.

    We need to fix the dyanmics and make it worthwhile to hire and train locals rather than rely in cheaper imports.

    We also need to stop the large numbers moving from temporary work visas to indefinite rights to remain in the UK. When I worked abroad I never expected to pick up local residency rights, or citizenship, I expected to go home when the work was done… and so it should be for people given work visas here.

    We also need to start charging for schooling and healthcare given to work visa holders and their families. A worker given a work visa being in 3 or 4 kids (if they are moving to a good catchment area) is being given education worth more than they are being paid in wages in many cases. A worker bringing in a sick relative in need of expensive medical care in being given healthcare worth lots more than their wages. We need to fix all of this.

  2. Cheshire Girl
    September 25, 2018

    I cant add anything to your excellent post today. You have articulated what this country needs, so well.

    1. Iain Gill
      September 25, 2018

      well its not just “low paid jobs” it is also in other parts of the pay spectrum. there are plenty of relatively higher paid jobs that are being squeezed by large numbers of immigrants displacing Brits from the workforce.

      1. Hope
        September 25, 2018

        I was recently admitted to hospital and there was a large contingent of Philipino nursing staff who were excellent in every regard. I do not see why the UK needs to discriminate against people of the world for EU citizens. We should want skilled labour and the best from anywhere.

        1. Iain Gill
          September 25, 2018

          There are plenty of Brits who want to train as nurses, and would be capable of doing the training. The NHS prefers cheaper more compliant workforces so uses large numbers of immigrants. The NHS is only going to be encouraged to train more locals if the visa taps are turned off.

          1. Peter Parsons
            September 25, 2018

            Maybe more Brits would be interested in training if the Conservatives reinstated the training bursaries they abolished in 2016 for nurses and midwives.

          2. Christine
            September 25, 2018

            My daughter couldn’t get on a nursing course because the college said they only took foreign students as their fees aren’t capped and they can fill their places at 13k per year. Government need to address this perverse situation.

          3. Hope
            September 25, 2018

            I agree Iain, but if the country does have an immigration policy it should not favour EU citizens irrespective of lack of skills, qualifications etc.

            JR, I note with incredulity that disaster May has bunkered down with Chequers, rubbished leavers alternative plan falsely claiming her self-initiated problem over Irish border will not be solved and continues to plough her loan furrow irrespective that Merkel still says today it will not work! If that was bad enough your looney tune cabinet still thinks that if it gets a trade deal preferential treatment for EU citizens can be negotiated! Is there anyone in your cabinet tuned in to public opinion, survey polls or wishes to deliver Brexit rather than remain by another name?

            Suggest you get rid of May before all support for your party disappears and Corbyn gets in by people abstaining to vote. You can tell her flawed character by her vendetta against the police, even though it hurts the public more than her point scoring against them. Namely giving all public services a larger pay rise other than the police! Has she seen the serious crime figures or explained to the victims and families that she is responsible for all the policy failings which lead to the tragedies?

            Good grief your party has a death wish.

        2. Helen Smith
          September 25, 2018

          Yes, but is it morally right to take nurses trained by other countries? Likewise is it right for people to train here then emigrate without repaying the cost of that training?

          The whole thing needs sorting. Train more doctors, nurses and midwives in the UK, ask them to pay the full cost of that training up front by student loan, then, for each year served in the NHS, refund say 5% of the loan, thus giving the tax payer value for money and the person the freedom to go into the private sector or to work abroad but at their own expense.

          1. Rien Huizer
            September 27, 2018

            Of course, and why is that not the current practice?

        3. Bozz
          September 26, 2018

          A young relative of mine had all the educational qualifications to enter the nursing profession but was unable to for some reason.Perhaps the easy access to foreign nurses was the reason.

  3. Mark B
    September 25, 2018

    Good morning

    As mentioned by others yesterday, greedy corporates use cheaper EU labour that they do not have to spend money on to train. Many companies in my field do this and I find that companies are looking only at cost and not necessary quality. They cannot see that that these people, once they have obtained the experience they are not getting elsewhere will soon leave them.

    But there seems to be hope on the horizon. With the pound falling against the Euro the UK is becoming less attractive.

    1. Christine
      September 25, 2018

      I agree. In my own field of IT, costs have driven employers to move work to third world countries where the quality is often substandard. Realising this error my old employer is desperately trying to reemploy the staff it made redundant. Maybe this is the reason why there have been so many banking computer system problems recently?

    2. Rien Huizer
      September 27, 2018

      So who will fill those 800K vacancies?

  4. Newmania
    September 25, 2018

    If you wish to claim that immigration reduces wages I would like to see evidence , I have not seen any serious work able to maintain this case.
    This , sadly , is what the Conservatuve Party have become , a sugar coating for the same old
    scurrrilous anti immigrant myths that have been used by the far right for a hundred years.

    1. Henry Spark
      September 25, 2018

      There is a great deal of evidence, and it all shows that immigration does not reduce wages. On the contrary it generates growth. Immigrants pay a great deal more in tax than they take out in benefits – that is clear, and there is no argument to the contrary from any economist. It’s hardly a surprise: trade brings prosperity. Mrs Thatcher knew her Adam Smith. The modern zealots who have hi-jacked her party and turned it into a nasty inward-looking nationalist mob do not.

      1. Pud
        September 25, 2018

        Everyone, immigrant or not, is a net recipient of government funding unless they pay higher rate tax. If you narrow the focus it might be correct that immigrants pay more tax than they receive in benefits, but as they and their families want health care, their bins emptying, education etc. then a low-wage immigrant is a net drain on the country.

      2. Stred
        September 25, 2018

        Immigration raises growth but not by growth per head, especially when illegals and NI numbers are used.

    2. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2018

      There is abundant evidence. It is just the law of supply and demand, more labour supply gives a lower wage leval just as night follows day. Try talking to people running a typical UK building site.

      1. Newmania
        September 25, 2018

        More economically active people increases aggregate demand and pushes up wages . That one you mean …or are you by any chance referring some dimly recalled O Level

        1. Stred
          September 25, 2018

          Have you ever talked to a builder or other tradesmsn about their pay?

    3. Anonymous
      September 25, 2018

      See how quickly this is turned into a race hate issue ?
      Debate cannot be shut down like that anymore.

      More supply = lower price


    4. Jagman84
      September 25, 2018

      Contradiction. No counter argument. Then finish off with a nasty slur. A typical Newmania contribution. And remainers wonder why they are losing the argument on Brexit. They have none and never will.

      1. Newmania
        September 25, 2018

        In fact that argument is entirely won as the polls now show. there is large anti Brexit majority

        1. Jagman84
          September 25, 2018

          Only in your dreams….. cherry picking your ‘polls’, no doubt!

        2. Edward2
          September 25, 2018

          No they don’t newmania.

        3. matthu
          September 25, 2018

          Still using the same pollsters as in the run-up to the referendum I see.

        4. libertarian
          September 25, 2018


          Oh really? More Remain BS

          Here are the results of the latest poll

          BMG Brexit poll
          Canada style 28%
          Leaving on WTO 24%
          Staying in the EU 20%
          Chequers 14%
          Norway-Style 13%
          A clear majority for Canada+++ or WTO terms.

          Field work 21st/22nd Sept.

          That shows a whopping 79% of people would prefer to LEAVE

          1. Anonymous
            September 25, 2018

            And barely 30% voted to remain in the EU in 2016.

          2. hans christian ivers
            September 26, 2018

            A very interesting conclusion but scientifically a bit shaky

          3. libertarian
            September 26, 2018


            In what way is it “scientifically” shaky ?

    5. Steve
      September 25, 2018


      “the Conservatuve Party have become , a sugar coating for the same old
      scurrrilous anti immigrant myths that have been used by the far right for a hundred years.”

      It could be argued that Labour represents the inverse of your assertion, with it’s never ending drive to make Britons a minority in their own country, and labelling us fascists if we object.

      At least the conservatives have got it right; control immigration relative to what skills the country needs, which has nothing to do with the kind of anti immigrant policy you appear to imply.

    September 25, 2018

    Let’s call a spade a spade shall we. This article is an attack on Labour’s idiotic employee share-ownership plan. Of course the author doesn’t make reference to McDonnell’s sneaky plans to ‘get inside’ the boardroom of each UK listed company but that’s what this article’s really about

    McDonnell is a Marxist. His contempt for private property rights and the profit motive is renowned and it drives his vicious politics. If he can infect UK companies and take control of them from the inside then that’s exactly what he’ll do if he can achieve power

    McDonnell along with McCluskey have one simple aim. It is take control of anything they can lay their hands on and they’ll use the law to do it. The unions will be playing a huge role in taking control of many of these listed companies. I am sure Labour will also legislate to infect non-listed companies with new pro-trades union regulation transferring powers and control from the owner to the ’employee’ (the union collective)

    And we have a Tory PM bending over backwards to facilitate it. May’s terrified of offending the left and the unions.

    If Marxist Labour achieve power they will be so radical. Their feminist wing will target their hate at their enemy using new laws to criminalise. Laws surrounding immigration will be ripped up, deliberately to encourage mass immigration ala 1998.

    Hate and intimidation will become common place

    The Tories need a massive change of culture to counteract this Marxist threat. We cannot allow May to continue pandering. The EU is a threat but a Marxist Labour government would be catastrophic for all of us

    1. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2018

      Just the threat of Mc Donnall & Corbyn is already killing much investment in the UK (made worse by May & Hammond who seems merely to be warming up for Labour and trying to destroy the Tories at the next election).

      If only he had become the Catholic Priest as he apparently tried to. Then he could have just talked compete drivel in some church (where people expect it witness socialist dope Welby). This rather than threating to kills jobs, growth and investment throughout UK economy with his insane agenda. Let us hope the voters are bright enough to see through Labours fraudulent magic money tree agenda.

    2. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2018

      May is just Mc Donnall light, she does not even point out as to why this Labour agenda would be so hugely destructive. She just apes it in her Mc Donnall light version.

      1. Iain Gill
        September 25, 2018


        lucky for the conservatives no matter how bad may gets the labour party decide to get even worse. our two main parties are now completely lost and out of touch with the people.

    3. Richard1
      September 25, 2018

      Fully agreed. Organisations like the CBI – and indeed the bank of England, now that that institution has also become politicised – should be much more vocal on the appalling damage which the gang of Marxists now running Labour will do if they ever get near power. Any alleged economic damage from brexit pales into insignificance compared with the risk of Labour.

      1. Helen Smith
        September 25, 2018

        Yep, they uttered scarcely a word in the run up to the last GE, belatedly they are waking up to the real threat to the economy, Labour.

      2. Lifelogic
        September 26, 2018


    4. Newmania
      September 25, 2018

      I share your horror at the thought of this leftward lurch. True, Brexit may be less damaging that an reinvention of the Soviet Union on British soil.
      As faint praise goes, however , this is up here with” Mussolini is my least hated Axis leader”

      Brexit is still a catastrophe and I find the old Stealers wheel track going around my head ” Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right …”

      1. MickN
        September 25, 2018

        …and the next line is of course “stuck in the middle with Eu”

        1. Jagman84
          September 25, 2018

          The Labour Party conference is an excellent fit for that ditty.

        2. Fedupsoutherner
          September 26, 2018

          Brilliant line MickN. I don’t understand why people continually vote for the same two parties if they are unhappy with both. We could always give UKIP a go? A party that wants to deliver a true Brexit and one that resembles a Conservative party of old. Corbyn or UKIP. I know what I’d prefer.

          1. Lifelogic
            September 26, 2018

            I don’t understand why people continually vote for the same two parties if they are unhappy with both.

            A first past the post system and the political inertia of the old party brands Conservative and Labour force them to. In most areas any other vote than Conservative ends up making the even worse Labour more likely. Cameron won his small majority only due to UKIP voters returning. May/Hammond are pushing them all away again.

      2. L Jones
        September 25, 2018

        Newmania – instead of constantly burbling on about ”Brexit being a catastrophe” perhaps you’d like to remind us of the golden future we forfeited by voting Leave. Describe it to us. Spend a little time attempting to win hearts and minds to your (admittedly odd) way of thinking by extolling the virtues of your beloved EU, rather than denigrating (y)our country.

        Perhaps you think that by sneeringly insulting people you actually win ground?

        1. margaret howard
          September 25, 2018


          “Perhaps you think that by sneeringly insulting people you actually win ground?”

          The pot calling the kettle black spring to mind.

          And incidentally a lot of ‘normal’ Conservatives voted Remain

          But the party is in the process of being hijacked by a nasty right wing faction.

          1. Jagman84
            September 25, 2018

            If you consider the likes of our host and JRM as a nasty right wing faction then you really have lost the plot! It seems that anyone who refuses to sign up to the -isms of Marxist orthodoxy, (masquerading as the current un-democratic system) are immediately branded right-wing.

          2. Anonymous
            September 25, 2018

            Nasty right wing faction.

            The nest taken over by left wing cuckoos more like.

          3. Edward2
            September 25, 2018

            Quite the opposite margaret, the Conservative party has been moving leftwards for years.

        2. MickN
          September 25, 2018

          While you are at it Newmania perhaps you will give us your thoughts on the Euro as all members of the Eu are required to adopt it as their currency by 2025. How well do you see us doing out of that deal were we to rejoin.

          1. margaret howard
            September 25, 2018

            Well seeing that the pound is dropping like a stone and the euro has replaced it as the world currency reserve, we would be doing very well.

            And as the fluctuating pound is costing people who want to visit/deal with eu countries dearly it should be very popular

            Reply The pound fell to 1.03 against tge dollar when we in and staying in the EU and is now at 1.31 against the dollar. The magic of Brexit!

          2. Know-Dice
            September 26, 2018

            @margaret howard

            “seeing that the pound is dropping like a stone”

            So you don’t want to help UK exporters, you don’t want foreign visitors spending their money here, you don’t want to help British tourist destinations?

      3. Mitchel
        September 25, 2018

        Personally,from the same era,I would prefer : “I love the sound of breaking glass”.

      4. John Hatfield
        September 25, 2018

        If we just leave just look at the upside:
        An end to business uncertainty, and proof that the stupid scare stories were as wrong as the Remain economic forecasts for 2016-17.
        £39bn to spend on tax cuts and public service improvements over two years, giving a good boost to jobs and our economy
        The right to settle our own migration policy, and to encourage more people settled in the UK into jobs with better wages
        Taking back control of our fish to rebuild our damaged fishing industry
        Setting out our own agriculture policy so we grow more at home again as we used to before we went into the EEC/EU
        Deciding on our own tariff levels – with lower tariffs or no tariffs where we cannot grow or make the things concerned.
        Signing trade deals with many countries that want even better trading relations with us.
        What’s not to like Newmania?

        1. margaret howard
          September 26, 2018


          To address just a couple of your points:

          Many of our fishermen sold their fishing quotas – mostly to Spain – for a quick profit disregarding long term investment. How are they going to get them back? Once you sold your possessions they are gone.

          And we can sign any trade deals we want now – if we can find a buyer. The other successful EU countries like Germany, Denmark, France etc do. There is nothing stopping us.

          Your other points are just as misguided.

          1. Edward2
            September 26, 2018

            They had to sell their quotas.

            Find a buyer…trade deals…..you obviously have never run a business that trades outside the UK.

            Many nations have said they want to continue trading with the UK
            Why wouldn’t they?

    5. Bob
      September 25, 2018

      It all starts with education. The Left have a firm grip in the schools and the media, so we have a hill to climb if we are to avoid the inevitable disaster that will result from the move towards socialism.

      The only party resisting it is ukip. Their latest manifesto includes abolition of the BBC Licence Fee which will be essential if the Long Marchers are to be thwarted.

      1. L Jones
        September 25, 2018

        The only thing that would stop me supporting UKIP is that it might split the vote and let Labour in.
        Their manifesto contains a lot of sensible stuff.

        1. fedupsoutherner
          September 25, 2018


          I’ve always found that UKIP’s manifesto is more Conservative than the Tory party’s manifesto.

          1. Know-Dice
            September 26, 2018

            I don’t have a choice, being in Mr Redwoods constituency 🙂

            But, out side of that, there seemed to be too many “duff” UKIP candidates. I liked Suzanne Evans & Diane James but entrenched bias within UKIP seemed to force them out.

            And you can’t have a one horse party [Nigel Farage] so where do those quality candidates come from – Denis ???

        2. John Hatfield
          September 25, 2018

          But we can’t carry on like this ad infinitum. The Tories and Labour are both self serving with little regard for the electorate. What’s written in the Tory manifesto is just an ad campaign. When they are in power those seeming intentions are dumped.
          We need to break the mould. Vote UKIP. And you JR.

      2. Iain Gill
        September 25, 2018

        and the universities, and the nhs, and social services depts…

        1. Stred
          September 25, 2018

          We could free up a lot of labour for farms by abolishing universities that shut down free speech and run Mickey Mouse courses on lefty politics. It would save the students wasting money on useless ‘degrees’.

    6. Steve
      September 25, 2018

      McDonnall, McClusky, Corbyn – all that crowd are shall we say; ‘unappealing’.

      The marxists are what Margaret Thatcher would have described as the enemy within.

      The only votes they’ll attract in the next General Election will come from those who vote labour because their mammy and daddy voted Labour, and their mammy and daddy before them, and of course because the tories are nasty horrible mean beasts in the pay of the antichrist.

      Let them vote Labour, they won’t win anyway. political thug-ism, disregard of democracy, Blair, and such things are still fresh in enough intelligent minds to keep Labour out of power thank heavens.

      Everyone knows Labour will stop brexit and give all our backsides to the EU.

      Liberals too would shaft this country into the EU quicker than you could blink.

      Politics and times are changing and I think future electoral challenges will be
      right-right, i.e UKIP / Conservatives. Though personally I’d like to see a coalition of the two followed by a complete purging of the civil service and the BBC to clear out all traces of marxism for good.

    7. Mark B
      September 25, 2018

      I disagree. I believe that Cornyn an co will be removed by the Blairites.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    September 25, 2018

    Higher wages requires a reduction in benefits paid by government.

    Otherwise we are subsidising business.

    The apprentice levy fund could be better used for other training schemes run by companies, which could attract tax breaks if they genuinely improve staff’s prospects

    1. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2018

      Who is the “we” in “Otherwise we are subsidising business”. The only people creating wealth are businesses and the people working for businesses or for themslves. Benefits are really a tax on the productive to augments the feckless. This lowers productivity and makes everyone poorer.

      Clearly some benefit are needed for those who really cannot work for health reasons but they are totally out of control in the UK. Often people are rather better off on benefits than when working.

      1. Dave Andrews
        September 25, 2018

        The pernicious benefits system we have traps people in illness, as they depend on their disability. They might get better, but stay sick for psychosomatic reasons.

      2. Narrow Shoulders
        September 25, 2018

        Those “wealth creators” pay me for my labour. The government taxes me a fair proportion of that pay. Therefore I am one of the we that is subsidising the wealth creators @LL.

        If any of your employees claims benefits you are being subsidised as an employer.

        1. a-tracy
          September 26, 2018

          I always wonder about people with your beliefs Narrow Shoulders, why don’t you build a business and employ other people, seriously I know plenty of people that have set up businesses with minimal savings and loans, often guaranteeing anything they own.

          I had an employee that claimed benefits as a single mother, one month after she started she announced she was pregnant, she was just working 16 hours around her other child’s school hours and the father well he wasn’t in the household apparently. She went on maternity leave and when she came back after one year and six weeks for her accrued holiday leave that the company paid her for, as well as paying her replacement workers holiday pay, she asked if she could have all the school holidays off as well because the benefits system topped up her benefits and she was no worse off. Who is being subsidised there the company or the employee? Or the absent but still getting ‘benefits’ father of the baby?

          1. Narrow Shoulders
            September 26, 2018

            My beliefs are that employers should pay the costs of their employees. How are businesses viable otherwise?

            Where I do agree with Lifelogic is that it should be much easier to rid oneself of employees such that you describe.

            If everyone went self employed there would be no scale. The economy needs cowards like me although if I had any networking or sales skills I would be tempted.

      3. fedupsoutherner
        September 25, 2018

        LL. Talking of subsidies. The energy companies are raking it in. SSE buys cheap excess gas from France, sells it for a premium and then because there is too much power on the grid and wind power isn’t needed they get their turbines turned off and rake in another subsidy for doing so. Nice work it you can get it and nice money too. No wonder our bills are going up.

        1. Lifelogic
          September 26, 2018


    2. Bill Potter
      September 25, 2018

      As the tax office knows every person and who employs them, why not charge back any benefits paid plus an admin charge (10-20%) to the employer. This will should make the employer pay more to save the admin charge.

      1. Lifelogic
        September 26, 2018

        Or make the employer give up, make people redundant or go bust perhaps!

  7. Ian wragg
    September 25, 2018

    So May is sticking to the Chequers paper despite everyone saying it’s draft.
    Is this the final act in the carefully choreographed opera where she makes final concessions and the plan is agreed.
    Single Market, Customs Union and FoM should just about swing it with Brussels.
    We are doomed.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2018

      “Is this the final act in the carefully choreographed opera where she makes final concessions and the plan is agreed.”

      This, I suspect, is her and the EU’s plan. She is a very silly woman indeed.

    2. Oggy
      September 25, 2018

      Morning Ian,
      I believe you are not far from the mark. Due to events last week, Mrs May yesterday, had a huge and convenient opportunity to ditch her chequers plan that nobody wants and go back to her Lancaster house speech. She didn’t do this, why ? – she must have a hidden agenda which we all suspect is complete capitulation and subjugation to Brussels.

      Yesterday was the final straw – she must go and go now.

    3. JoolsB
      September 25, 2018

      Unbelievable isn’t it? She’s sticking to Chequers to save face in the face of virtually everyone else opposing it. This stubborn woman is determined to carry on with her treacherous plans come what may. Let’s just hope that all those Brexiteers who have done absolutely nothing to depose her have got something up their sleeve for this week’s conference. For the sake of the country she has to go but will they have the guts to put country before party?

      1. Peter
        September 25, 2018

        It is always a case of ‘give her another week’ or ‘wait until after conference’.

        A difficult woman to understand. I have no idea what she really thinks. By the way, she hijacked a ‘bloody difficult woman’ and changed its intent. It was supposed to mean she was a ditherer – not that she drove a hard bargain.

    4. Ian wragg
      September 25, 2018

      Chequers is dead

      1. Peter
        September 25, 2018

        I sincerely hope so.

    5. Stred
      September 25, 2018

      May will call a General Election and lose it on a Chequers manifesto rather than take advice and go for a trade deal that Tusk has said is acceptable. She must have a truly awful deal to put to s second referendum or ‘people’s vote’. The whole political class is pushing for this, except for small minority. When May says we will not be having one, we can be certain that’s what she’s plotting. Just like the last election.

      1. Peter
        September 25, 2018

        More likely that she will use the threat of a general election to try to bring reluctant Tory lobby fodder into line behind Chequers.

    6. McBryde
      September 25, 2018

      Fraid so… The future’s not looking good.
      Come on, Nigel – it’s time for a fight.

      1. Christine
        September 25, 2018

        What more can Nigel do? He’s already touring the country and has his excellent show on LBC. It’s time others in the Tory party stood up for what’s right and I don’t mean the Brexiteers.

    7. McBryde
      September 25, 2018

      The next few months should be hell for the average Brit. There will no doubt be a crescendo of scare news/propaganda to swing the voting public (as occurred in Ireland). I can’t look!

      It’s started: the IMF has just produced the big lie warning us that things will get bad once we leave. I think this is just the start.

      Time for people to turn off the TV now, and read a good book. :/

      1. fedupsoutherner
        September 25, 2018

        McBryde. I’m already doing that. Watching paint dry comes a close second.

    8. Denis Cooper
      September 25, 2018

      To be honest the way she still clings to her crazy Chequers plan, even after it has been rejected on more or less all sides, is making me wonder whether she has gone crazy herself. I tried to warn against the ……………… influence of Olly Robbins many months ago, but my submissions were vaporised.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 25, 2018


        “She said that she remained confident of securing a Brexit deal, adding that “as it stands” her Chequers plan was the only viable proposal that addressed the need to keep an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.”

        So the whole thing revolves around the 0.1% of UK GDP which is exported across the land border into the Irish Republic. Not content with having the whole country run for the convenience of the 6% of companies which export 12% of UK GDP to the rest of the EU, now she wants it all to be determined by the 0.1% of GDP which is driven across the Irish border.

      2. Chris
        September 25, 2018

        The Sun reports that May is firmly fixed on Chequers, and that her Cabinet supports her. May is convinced apparently that the EU will come up with a solution to the problem in October. I suspect strongly that the EU will make (pre arranged with May?) further demands which May will concede to, justified by the fact her Cabinet has supported Chequers and her view that there is not other option to Chequers (and her Cabinet apparently supports her on that too as they have taken no action).

        Theresa May, or rather her advisers, has outfoxed the Brexiters, however loudly they may talk. Action is what is needed. The excuse now apparently for not tackling Theresa May is that Conference is coming up. Pathetic. The continuing procrastination by Brexiters in taking radical action about Chequers has meant that May has firmly cemented her position. Face up to it, Tory Brexiter MPs, Chequers is what is on offer from May, and she will not budge, other than giving more concessions to the EU. She will never countenance Canada+++. The fact that she covertly worked with Olly Robbins to produce Chequers in order to destroy Davis and his Canada + plan should be evidence enough to Brexiter MPs that she is not going to back down to them, although she is likely to back down to the EU and give further concessions.

        1. Denis Cooper
          September 26, 2018

          So what will happen if MPs are called upon to vote in support of some agreement or proposal based upon the Chequers plan, and they refuse to do so? Actually I think it would be far better to bring it to a head as soon as possible, and I wonder how a vote could be triggered.

      3. Stred
        September 25, 2018

        Not nuts but scheming, not very bright and s belief that God wants us to remain in an support our closest partners and friends. She will forgive them for their cake joke. We

  8. Lifelogic
    September 25, 2018

    Indeed, but companies do need to be able to fire staff who are not performing or are swinging the lead. They also need capital to invest in better technology, cheaper energy, cheaper and better property for the business and for staff (so relax planning laws and get some real competition in banking) they also need the goverment to get off their backs. So we basically need the opposite of the May/Hammond agenda of tax, borrow, piss down the drain, building on workers “rights”, regulate to business to death, attack the gig economy and forcing them to use expensive green crap energy.

    Listening to Mc Donnall and the shadow housing secretary John Healey yesterday was truly depressing. Basically both we saying (very loud and clear), do not ever invest UK businesses or UK property to rent out as when/if Labour ever get in they will steal your assets off you. Do not employ anyone as you will have to adopt them for life and they will destroy the UK economy in very short order. Tax to death, Brexit in name only socialists, T May and P Hammond have essentially the same agenda but in the light version, (this as they have a sensible wing to pull them back a little from their total inablity to understand the needs businesses, job creation or the economy).

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      September 25, 2018

      It’s a depressing choice. But at least Labour know at heart they’re planning to destroy the economy whereas May is daft enough to think she’s doing just fine.

      Perhaps for the first time there would be mass abstentions at a GE with these two.

  9. Dave Andrews
    September 25, 2018

    There remains certain jobs which will never attract higher wages, but still need to be done.
    I suppose the country could give up fruit growing if pickers can’t be economically engaged. What about home care? Is the answer to abandon the elderly because there is no scope to upskill care work and make it more productive?

    Can I have a whinge about housing costs? Much better if people’s incomes weren’t devastated by rent and mortgage, so they have more money to spend. We need buyer controls to limit the housing stock being bought up for second homes and holding tenants to ransom on buy to let.

  10. APL
    September 25, 2018

    “I want business to employ more people who are already settled here. I want them to offer better wages to encourage more people into work. ”

    How about you reform the Educational system so that it produces people qualified with useful grounded qualifications?

    1. Lifelogic
      September 25, 2018

      Oh no education now mainly about indoctrination in bogus science, enforced “equality”, the need to pay higher and higher taxes for little value in return, to respect people who hold bonkers religious views, the gender pay gap drivel, climate alarmism, “renewables” and green crap.

      Just look at many of the GCSE exams nowadays.

      1. Lifelogic
        September 25, 2018

        And so called “rights”!

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      September 25, 2018

      You can lead a horse to water.

      Housing, benefits and immigration need to be reformed so that it is imperative to be well educated and capable of further up skilling in order to live well.

      Otherwise there is no incentive

  11. Roy Grainger
    September 25, 2018

    Corbyn and McDonnel understand this. Open door immigration of low-paid low-skill workers from Poland etc. depresses wage growth at the lower end of the labour market and means companies don’t need to invest in higher productivity via training and technological improvements. Wage growth in these jobs in UK is amongst the lowest in the EU. Wage growth in these jobs in Poland is amongst the highest in the EU. Simple supply and demand. I suspect many of those who oppose Brexit – including on this blog – are in public sector jobs nicely insulated from this reality. For example if you are a teacher it doesn’t much matter to your wages if a million workers in hospitality or the building trade arrive.

  12. Dave , Spencers Wood
    September 25, 2018

    Companies in the UK are always looking to employ cheaper labour and avoid training. That’s the nature of the beast and it is usually down to the targets they are set by the board of directors – it is always about the next quarter rather than two years down the line. Too often company directors are pocketing large bonuses whilst those on the shop floor get no pay increases. Pay ratios are pretty lousy too. What are the Conservatives going to do to address any of that ? Any plans at all?

    Any IT person worth their salt already does their skills development on their own time and paid for out of their own pocket. And we have learnt through experience that the best way to get pay rises is to move jobs.

    In my experience for UK based roles I’m competing against people from India rather than the EU. The visa controls set by the Home Office are pretty loose. Brexit isn’t going to make this any easier for UK staff.

  13. Scott Williams
    September 25, 2018

    Recent DWP papers showed 37% of households received more in benefits than they paid in taxes. Low paying employers are part of the ‘privatised profit – socialised cost’ business model so prevalent. The young need proper education, skills training and the opportunity of decently paid work. Without this, the hope of a home and a family, some would say the bedrock of a sustainable society, are impossible. Surely it is time to take a hard look at the prospects of the indigenous population . TM and Co have lost the plot.

    1. Tad Davison
      September 25, 2018

      Well said.

      It’s a pity more politicians didn’t take those points on board, but they’re part of the problem, rather than the solution.


    2. Jagman84
      September 25, 2018

      I believe that the recent reclassification of the retirement pension as a benefit may have skewed the data somewhat.

  14. Kevin
    September 25, 2018

    Is there a conservative economic model which considers the hypothetical situation where the employee is better educated than the employer? If so, does such a model include proposals for increasing national economic efficiency by helping the former to switch places with the latter?

  15. David in Kent
    September 25, 2018

    One of our biggest importers of ‘cheap’ labour is the NHS which fails to train and retain enough of everything from cleaners to surgeons. Forcing them to reduce their dependence on immigrants by training more people who are already here and making a lot more capital investment in productivity enhancing equipment would go a long way towards raising NHS productivity and delivering better value as well as better wages.

  16. Narrow Shoulders
    September 25, 2018

    To incentivise workers higher pay needs to give them a competitive edge in life.

    The current benefit system and the concept of universal credit equalises those on low pay and allows them the same standard of living as those on higher pay.

    Why should I commute an hour and a half each way to a job with responsibility and stress when my famiy circumstances would allow me to take home £35K per year on universal credit?

    Where is the incentive to self improve if a shelf stacker can take home as much as a manager?

    Not only is there a lack of incentive but we are importing families who take up school places and with benefits earn the same as much higher paid workers. This pushes up the cost of living for all. Where is the benefit for anyone except business.

    In seeking to help the low paid, the benefits system disadvantages the next level of earners and acts as a magnet for economic migration.

  17. Andy
    September 25, 2018

    The reality is somewhat different of course.

    Certainly technology can help with productivity in some sectors. Fruit picking is one often mentioned on this site – and, yes, here it could help a bit. (Though some fruits will still need to be pricked by people for the foreseeable future).

    But in other areas the result of your policies is that jobs just don’t get done. Ah – but train up unemployed Brits, scream the retired Brexiteers. Alas, an unemployed pastry chef who lives in London would be no use if the job you have is for a carpenter in Kidderminster. And, if you can’t find a trained carpenter, the job then just does not get done because the angry pensioners consider it low skilled work, unsuitable for ghastly foreigners.

    But worst of all is the flip side of this all. Free movement of labour is not just about them coming here. It is about us going there – to more than 30 countries – to pursue our dreams in an easy, beaucracy freeway. A bunch of mainly old white people sat around the Cabinet table have decided to deny this opportunity to future generations in an attempt to appease angry pensioners. Actually they should be standing up to the pensioners, telling them to deal with their xenophobia.

    1. Edward2
      September 25, 2018

      No one is talking about zero immigration.
      It would be good to have a controlled and managed immigration policy that encourages and allows the people we need and treats people the same wherever they come from.
      Like most independent nations have.

    2. Dave Andrews
      September 25, 2018

      I would distinguish between mass immigration and individuals who wish to move to another country because they decide they really like it.
      Mass immigration that is about economic migration needs to be controlled.
      If anyone wants to move to another country, they should be prepared to learn the language and adopt the culture, not create fragmentary ghettos.

    3. Anonymous
      September 25, 2018

      I can’t believe anyone’s bothering to read this guy anymore.

    4. libertarian
      September 27, 2018


      Reality you say…. So a worker can’t move from London to Kidderminster but of course they can move from Kracow ….. OK

      Why? Let me tell you, yesterday you were crying about losing workers rights and benefits on leaving the EU, of course the reality is that in most East European countries there are NO workers rights and benefits , not in the same way as we have them here .

      Your stupid, snide cobblers about pensioners is childishly tedious.

      Carpenters , plumbers, electricians etc are in short supply for the simple reason the last Labour government wanted to send everyone to university, we still have an education system entirely focused on academic not vocational work. So yes retraining is the answer. Oh and the average salary for a carpenter is £29,000 pa so no its definitely not low skilled

      Oh and just so you know there shouldn’t be an unemployed pastry chef in London as there is a huge demand for chef’s Do you know the salary range for London chefs ? £29000- £72000

      You are also a bit limited in your thinking, why would young brits want to go and work only in Western Europe ? How many people want to work in Greece, Spain, Portugal when there is very little work and poor pay. The vast majority of Brits who work abroad do so in Australia, Canada , South Africa and NZ.

      Of course should your kids hanker after a job as a waiter in a Romanian restaurant they still can after Brexit, just the process is different

      1. libertarian
        September 27, 2018

        Oh and Andy

        It is your idiot EU that mandated this by the way, setting targets of 40% of people having degrees. Pointless, you dont need a degree to be an electrician, plumber, carpenter, nurse, chef, or indeed very much at all .

        Thats WHY we have shortages of those trades

        Already in the UK, degrees in most occupations are now worthless as so many have them, and the earnings of a graduate are now less than an apprentice.


  18. oldtimer
    September 25, 2018

    Over the longer term, demographic trends require huge increases in productivity in all walks of life to maintain let alone enhance living standards. That in turn requires a highly skilled workforce and creative, inventive thinking to produce solutions.

  19. Gary C
    September 25, 2018

    Off topic:

    Is this right?


    When is this nonsense going to stop?

    Every time the can is kicked down the road more is given away, it’s time to go to WTO, get us out now and let the EU waffle on forever after.

    It’s been proven time and time again . . . . . . . . . . The EU do not deal they demand and take!

    1. Mark B
      September 25, 2018

      The EU and our PM want the UK to Remain in the EU. They are working together.

  20. GilesB
    September 25, 2018

    In addition to training, increased productivity also needs capital investment in equipment, tools and facilities. The UK’s investment in industry and commerce is pitifully low barely replacing obsolete and broken items. Compare a typical U.K. factory in a Victorian building designed for different processes and full of old equipment, with the modern purpose built factories in China full of new equipment and robots.

    For the last thirty years nearly all net investment in the U.K. has gone into public infrastructure for transport, education, healthcare and housing to support a larger population.

    The total value of the capital stock in the U.K. is about one million pounds per head. Adding to the population leads to a decline in available business investment per worker and hence a fall in productivity.

    Turning to immigration, looking only at the contribution in terms of taxes paid vs. benefits received, is to ignore totally the balance sheet impact. Low U.K. productivity is almost entirely due to the hollowing out of business capital, because of the investment in public infrastructure.

  21. Adam
    September 25, 2018

    Employing fewer people on higher pay is more sensible than drawing excessive numbers of people into the UK & attempting to pay & house them all at any price.

  22. Chris
    September 25, 2018

    Excellent news: I see that Theresa May is going to meet with President Trump tomorrow to talk trade. I do hope she is prepared to learn something from him. This meeting could be hugely significant for Brexit and for our country. Interesting reported quote from her:
    About time too.

    “The Prime Minister also insisted that she trusts him.
    She said: “We work together, we have a special relationship.”


  23. sm
    September 25, 2018

    Presumably, Labour (in its generous application of equality to all) will ensure that shareholding and office-bearing “workers” will participate in all the downsides of being an SME owner/director: in the bad times, they will forego all dividends, take no wages, work 48hrs on the trot when necessary, and take few if any holidays?

    However, that is not to say that a good many private companies/financial institutions/public&State enterprises have not behaved in disgustingly greedy ways that lend fuel to the Shadow Chancellor’s policies.

  24. DUNCAN
    September 25, 2018

    The economic philosophy of this government is simple. Exploit and take advantage of the private sector’s productivity improvements to finance the political spending of the unproductive, dependent public sector

    Essentially, finance the placation of the whingeing, entitled union dominated public sector through the efficiencies and margins generated by the careful private sector

    Politicians. Honestly

    We have a hard left opposition desperate to achieve power and whose intentions are pure, unadulterated political control of all things. And we have a soft left Tory government led by a pair of liberal left panderers who are terrified of upsetting anyone and everyone

    The UK will pay a heavy price for Tory appeasement of the left

    The hard left has one aim. Infect and control. The Tories are standing back and doing nothing about it

  25. NHSGP
    September 25, 2018

    So when are you going to compensate people that you forced to fund low paid servants and employees so the rich could cream it?

    a Min wage earner with a wife and two kids pays £13.11 a week in tax. They cost other people £54,000 a year, every year.

    You’ve used the state and the threat of violence to get the money to fund those cheap servants.

    You’ve not asked permission or consent from those forced to pay.

    Now you are saying, oh, we will carry on paying them, because its the ‘moral’ thing to do.

    It’s completely immoral to force other people to fund your servants.

    etc ed

  26. henryS
    September 25, 2018

    What you mean is you want to employ more young British people to do the drudge jobs that the EU eastern europeans used to do but pay them more..and if it takes extra training and perks then ok- better young british that EU European- well whatever we offer the young british people are not going to get out into the fields early in the morning or work on the building sites in all weathers if they are not so inclined- that boat has sailed a long time

    Reply Higher pay and more automation will work!

    1. Iain Moore
      September 25, 2018

      Recently BBC news ran a piece on needing agricultural workers, filming some Romanians picking corn outside Peterborough. A cursory perusal on the internet shows no end of corn picking machines for sale.

  27. Iain Moore
    September 25, 2018

    I agree, British business has become addicted to a low wages, which mass immigration has facilitated. This has had very damaging effects in productivity , for with supply and demand restrictions on labour removed, they haven’t been made to invest in training or mechanisation and technology, and this is seriously damaging our future prospects as a country. I gather that only 15% of people who join a company at its basic level, ever receive any quality training that allows them to advance from there.

    Unfortunately our Government which has received a mandate in two elections to get control of immigration, and conformed in a referendum, has so far not bothered to, and in reports from the Cabinet meeting yesterday, is still not going to, the main aim seems to be to create exceptions so as to add to the complexity of our immigration rules, so making management of it almost impossible, which might be the whole aim of it.

    I gather the idea is being floated that we should accept EU immigration for a trade deal. This must not be conceded under any circumstance. No other nation on earth has had to open its borders to immigration to get a trade deal, why should we? Are our negotiators so useless that a trade deficit is not sufficient inducement to get a trade deal with the EU , so we have to have open borders as well? But if we concede that point with the EU, then we will have to concede that point with India and anywhere else.

  28. Denis Cooper
    September 25, 2018


    It seems Keir Starmer is irrevocably committing Labour to vote against almost anything that the government may come up with by way of an EU withdrawal deal, including no deal at all; that is his idea of responsible, constructive and patriotic opposition.

    This article lists the “Six Tests” Labour intends to apply to justify automatic rejection of whatever terms Theresa May brings back:


    While this earlier article:



    “Why Barry Gardiner was right to call Labour’s six tests for a Brexit deal “bollocks””.

    However it has become clear that on Brexit Keir Starmer outranks Barry Gardiner – and John McDonnell as well – and he will always have the last word.

    Anti-Brexit idiots at the Labour conference have T-shirts and leaflets suggesting:


    without explaining why we should need another “Europe” when we have had forty five years to shape the present “Europe” to our liking, if indeed that was “possible”.

    Of course it is a problem that young people like Andy who know next to nothing about those past forty five years, let alone the preceding years, have been granted the right to vote on a matter of which they are so profoundly ignorant.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 25, 2018


      “Sir Keir Starmer insists ‘nobody is ruling out Remain as an option'”

      “The shadow Brexit secretary’s declaration brings a standing ovation from Labour members at the party’s conference in Liverpool.”

      So Labour finally comes clean and shows that its repeated assurances of respecting the result of the referendum were always a pack of hypocritical lies.

  29. Harold Sharples
    September 25, 2018

    I hear far too much from people who have ‘better’ ideas for how we distribute wealth. I hear far too little from those with ideas for creating it. Low value-adding jobs is certainly NOT where this country – with its fine tradition of innovation – should be looking if it is to play to its strengths. I used to look to the Conservatives to deliver a balance of policies for wealth creation and wealth distribution. I have despaired recently when I have seen less and less sign of any such thing.

    John, you were uncharacteristically off your sweet spot when you were talking about financial incentives – the evidence shows that they tend to motivate people to distort the data or the system rather than deliver what businesses really need over the longer term (try reading Alfie Kohn’s ‘Punished By Rewards’).

    Over the longer term people are motivated by 3 things: (1) What they enjoy doing, (2) What they see as having meaning, (3) What they see as qualifying them to be able to do something they find meaningful (millennials all the more so).

    The two other common motivators: (4) Financial pressure, and (5) Emotional Pressure are short term motivators. Great long-term business-building taps into the first 3 … businesses tapping into the last two only get short-term results – even then, it is at the cost of individuals’ self-respect .

    Businesses tapping into the first 3 motivators build individuals’ self-respect and the business too … those tapping into the last 2 undermine both over the longer term.

    We British have an unquenchable and instinctive ability to innovate. Innovation creates wealth … a lot of innovation creates a lot of wealth. Future policies need to concentrate on mobilising and realising our innate potential (education, apprenticeships, industrial policy). That is where the high value-adding jobs of a future Britain will come from.

  30. Christine
    September 25, 2018

    The question I keep asking is what has happened to the previous year’s migrants? Without a system to check people leaving the country, we will never know. Also, the Government should make it much harder to obtain a National Insurance number. Previously a temporary number was issued whilst checks were carried out. I hate to think of the fraud being committed. Also, look at the perverse incentive of only working 16 hours per week. No wonder our productivity is so low. Go back to encouraging students to do our fruit picking jobs. The whole model is broken with us the taxpayer subsidising bad employers. Dumbing down Tier 2 visas is going to make the problem even worse. We are sinking to the level of a third world country with single people crammed into HMOs.

  31. Anthony
    September 25, 2018

    Well said, that man

  32. a-tracy
    September 25, 2018

    I just wish someone would design a scheme that matched high youth unemployment areas with the areas with lots of work but no trainees. To facilitate this we need to invest in student type accommodation for apprentices or let apprentices stay in student accommodation.

    Then if there are no apprenticeships in skills youngsters in Newcastle Upon Tyne want to gain then they can affordably train away from their parents home. The Southern home dividend for children is massive. Instead of tempting our manufacturers away to Poland and the Eastern European states we should tempt them up to the North East, in order to do that we need to set up desirable areas up there for the Management to live, two more Durhams.

    Wales needs a motorway connection to link them with speed, join the M53 to the M54 with a continuation to the capital in Cardiff and the M4 taking much Irish freight off the M6 which is just so dangerous now that even travelling at 50 mph is causing crash after crash and it’s nothing to do with Roman Soldier burial grounds but rather tired drivers in the middle of the Country being forced to drive much slower than the road allows because it is running in two lanes bumper to bumper instead of using all three outside of rush hour.

    You talk of productivity our Government is the ones causing productivity losses just getting around our Country. Extraordinarily high rail tickets to fill up empty seats on the day of travel, what other service company that is empty doubles the price of tickets on the day.

  33. Denis Cooper
    September 25, 2018

    For God’s sake, not mentioned on the TV news, it turns out that this Tory government is still secretly prepared to link trade and immigration.

    Which is what the EU insists on doing with its inseparable “four freedoms”, and all Tory leaders over the past sixty years have always been perfectly content to accept, but which the British people do not like and have very clearly voted against.


    “Under the MAC proposals, backed by the cabinet, these high-skilled migrants could come from anywhere in the world. There would no longer be any preferential status for EU citizens coming to the UK once Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.”

    Fine so far, but then there’s the next bit:

    “However, the cabinet agreed that this could change if and when Britain signs a comprehensive trade deal with the EU.

    “That would mean a better deal on migration, but the same offer would be available if we struck trade deals with other countries around the world,” said one cabinet insider.””

    In other words, notwithstanding the objections of the great majority of the citizens the Tory leaders still want to carry on giving away free shares in our country in the hope of getting more favourable treatment for exporting companies.

    And how well that has worked out, with over 3 million EU citizens sharing our homeland in exchange for an annual trade deficit now running at about £70 billion a year.

    I repeat that in 2017 I put aside my normal objections and lent my vote to Theresa May, but now I shall never again vote for any Tory candidate in any election.

    1. Chris
      September 25, 2018

      That isyet another example of why politicians have completely lost the trust of the people. I would suggest that it is the Tory politicians who have lost the most trust, as Corbyn et al have made it quite clear what views they espouse and what action they will take. Tories hide their policies under weasel worded agendas/manifestos/speeches, using such terms as “progressive” and the tools afforded by PC to effect a cultural Marxist agenda. They are not “Conservative” at all in their outlook in policies.

      I note in many comment threads that many people are so utterly disgusted by what they consider an abuse of power by May et al over Brexit, and by the leftist agenda they are imposing on people, that they would vote Corbyn in order to deliver an enormous shock to our apparently unaware Tory MPs in the hope that they will learn a lesson and that something new and fresh can rise from the defeat of the Tories at an election.

  34. KZB
    September 25, 2018

    I find this article a bit rich coming from a member of the Thatcher government. A government that succeeded in getting rid of huge swathes of productive industry.

    Reply Not true. The sharp decline in steel, coal, shipbuilding took place under Labour in the 1970s. It was not a result of the Thatcher govt.

    1. APL
      September 25, 2018

      KZB: “A government that succeeded in getting rid of huge swathes of productive industry.”

      The point about the closure of Iron and Steel and Coal production in this country, was that the industries were in-efficient.

      Oh, and yes, Lord Anthony Benn Labour closed more than his fair share of mines during his tenure as Energy Secretary.

      1. Anonymous
        September 25, 2018

        What came after wasn’t any more productive.

        Vast swathes of subsidised and fatherless housing-estate families, a complete redundancy of Dads. (Incidentally those broken and unemployed families ended up housed in better accommodation than the steel workers demanded.)

        I heard a woman on the radio the other day, a mother to a son killed in a knife attack. “My intention is to encourage youth clubs. There is no system to tell us when a boy is going off the rails and no-one to put him back on track.”

        Well there used to be. It was called a Dad.

  35. Bob
    September 25, 2018

    Gosh this also sounds familiar

    “It had been a Labour ambition since the 1930s, to find a way of preventing any future Tory government from reversing their most radical actions.

    In 2002, they discovered how to do it – by seizing control of the political debate so as to make Toryism seem ridiculous and finished, and so to browbeat the Tories into becoming what they are now, a cheap copy of New Labour, completely signed up to political correctness, open borders, comprehensive schools and the rest.

    And that was done mainly by the revolutionary veterans of the 1960s, finally climbing into the seats of power in politics, culture, broadcasting, education and law.”

    1. Bob
      September 25, 2018

      This comment was published without the context of another one which has obviously been rejected. This is a quote from Peter Hitchens Mail article “Forget Corbyn, the real Marxists in Labour were the BLAIRITES”

    2. forthurst
      September 25, 2018

      Exceptional article from Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday – thanks.


      “They have revolutionised the country, especially in sexual and moral matters, and in education, as well as vastly increasing public spending, weakening the armed forces, abolishing our borders, and reducing the Tory party to a twittering egalitarian rump with no real ideas of its own.

      It is said the Devil’s cleverest achievement has been to persuade us that he does not exist. Nothing like as clever, in my view, as the Blairites’ success in persuading us that they are harmless moderates.”

  36. John Swannick
    September 25, 2018

    It’s not just cheap EU workers undermining the UK labour market. There’s another factor at play. The army of underemployed and underpensioned 50/60 (and increasingly 40) somethings who are too well off to appear in benefits statistics and too poor (or young) to retire! These are not just your B&Q trolley pushers and overqualified clerical workers, but re-trained and self-employed home-working lifestyle counsellors, bloggers, interim managers and consultants of every conceivable hue waiting, Micawber-like, for something to turn up. I bet Wokingham is awash with them too. Often ex but certainly transient Conservative voters. I can’t find any data on the phenomenon but I bet it’s as big as the ‘Gig economy’. No wonder wages and productivity aren’t rising when the labour market is theoretically so tight.

    1. Anonymous
      September 25, 2018

      Yes. These people will be subsidising employers with their pensions and their paid of mortgages. Not giving younger people a chance to make a life for themselves.

  37. Mick
    September 25, 2018

    Off topic but not by much
    Just been listening to the Starmer speech what a complete muppet and the muppets who gave him a standing ovation, how totally out of touch are these people, do they honestly think that they would get voted into number 10 by offering a referendum on staying in the dreaded Eu, keep it up labour you are going to be as insignificant as the libs/snp/greens/

  38. hans christian ivers
    September 25, 2018


    Interesting hypothesis but our low productivity has very little to do with low skilled EU workers.

    This goes back much further
    -Too little investment in capital resources
    -Too little investment in schooling-
    0Too little investment in infrastructure
    -Too few apprenticeship programmes which are efficient
    -Too little investment in on the job training]

    But other wise good piece John

    1. Anonymous
      September 25, 2018

      True but EU labour has been used as a cover for some of these problems.

      I’ve the first to admit that I blame our own governments. They were the ones to point the finger at the EU and shift the blame for their own inactions. UK courts did the same.

      “We know your pain but it’s the EU stopping us, you see.”

      Brexit has called the UK establishment’s bluff. They did not expect us to actually do it.

  39. Denis Cooper
    September 25, 2018

    As far as the EU is concerned it’s OK for the Irish government to have a veto over all aspects of the UK’s withdrawal arrangements but it’s not OK for the Northern Ireland assembly to have a veto over an aspect which crucially affects Northern Ireland:


    “May’s plan to give Stormont a backstop veto enrages EU envoys”

  40. Denis Cooper
    September 25, 2018

    Now Theresa May is saying that it would be better to have no deal – by which I think she may mean just no special trade deal, not no deal on anything at all – rather than the Canada style free trade deal being pushed yesterday:


    “May said the Brexiters’ plan would necessitate a hard Irish border and thus invoke the EU’s so-called backstop, which would keep Northern Ireland within elements of the customs union and single market, effectively drawing a customs border in the Irish Sea … A no-deal departure would be preferable, she said: “First of all, I’ve always said no deal is better than a bad deal. I think a bad deal will be a deal, for example, that broke up the United Kingdom. We want to maintain the unity of the United Kingdom.”

    Well, I have mentioned before that CETA does not create a customs union between Canada and the EU, just as the EEA Agreement does not create any customs union between the three participating EFTA countries and the EU, hence the existence of a customs border between Norway and Sweden which although generally regarded as “light touch” would still be a totally unacceptable arrangement as far as the Irish government was concerned.

    However notwithstanding Theresa May’s determination to ignore it there is a good alternative solution to the largely fabricated problem of the Irish border, which she is really using as a pretext to try to keep us as much under the thumb of the EU as she can possibly get away with.

    I would only agree with her preference that we leave without any special trade deal because we can decide that for ourselves unilaterally, rather than having to beg the EU to give us a special or preferential deal, no doubt at some high price.

    And especially as time is now running short for negotiations, and we should use that time to sort out the legal and practical details of trading on the basis of the WTO treaties, which already exist and are already in force.

    Then we can start negotiating a special trade deal after we have left, which is in any case what the EU wanted to happen.

  41. mancunius
    September 25, 2018

    Arguably, the labour market is over-provided, and needs reducing for wages to rise and skills to increase.
    Perhaps Mrs May can be persuaded to do her bit towards helping the process by resigning.

  42. Freeborn John
    September 25, 2018

    One has to despair at Theresa May again today who seems completely niave as to the way the EU are jerking her around. She appears to believe that if she can come up with some cunning wheeze that solves the Rubic-cube puzzle they are setting her then they will throw up their hands in delight and say ‘we accept that plan’. The reality if they want her fail and then declare time is up and then pay £39bn, give NI away and make EU citizens a privilege caste in the UK with more rights than Britons while getting no trade deal in return. Today Theresa May tells them a Canada FTA Deal is worse than no-deal while Angela Merkel makes a speech in which she rejects chequers for not respecting all “four freedoms” of the EU single market. If May persists she would have to water Chequers down further by accepting EU regulation of services and freedom of movement. The EU has in any already said that NI must remain in the customs union and single market but this isn’t not on offer for GB. So really there is no salvation for May in persisting with more concessions based on Chequers. Yet she still persists in mental gymanistcs to try to satisfy the EU whims when all can see that the hurdles are designed to be insolvable. Her big mistake is the same as Cameron’s; to have been so needy of a deal that she convinced the EU27 that she never walk away and trade with them in WTO terms. However that is the only relationship we can have with the EU which is under our control to determine and to plan for as the clock ticks down. Anything else just ends up with Theresa May in a EU meeting room at 2am in March 29 chasing shadows while the country wakes up to a trading relationship we could have chosen for ourselves and planned for two years ago.

    The political class in Britain really are clueless. One half of them is actively going to Brussels to ask them to give us a bad deal in the hope this might persuade us to remain in the EU. And the other is failing a beginners course in negotiating skills by making one unilateral concession after another to a partner who is negotiating in bad faith.

    Reply On this basis we will be leaving with no Withdrawal Agreement which would be a lot better than with the Withdrawal Agreement on offer

  43. VotedOut
    September 25, 2018

    Well we wouldn’t need to import medical staff to the UK if we had a University system that trained enough people here in the UK. Of course uncontrolled immigration of low skilled people who don’t earn enough to pay tax increases the pressure for the service.

    The same goes for all builders, engineers etc. etc.

    Fruit and veg pickers were in the past able to do seasonal work and not be penalised when they fell back on benefits because – wait for it, they were seasonal workers. Today you will starve to death before you see any needed benefit materialise. This of course doesn’t impact workers who are here for a month or two and go back to Romania etc.

    All these things can be solved for UK people – if we actually ‘want’ to solve them. But, the interests of the UK people are a bit of an inconvenience… and best ignored in favour of the mythical hard working EU migrant…

    1. hans christian ivers
      September 26, 2018


      Or it is just an inconvenience for the British worker to pick fruit?

      1. libertarian
        September 26, 2018


        I’ve refrained from getting involved in this debate as trying to tell people the actual facts is pointless.

        However the simple reason Brits won’t do picking jobs is quite obvious and sensible. Picking is a seasonal activity taking place over a few weeks. People coming off benefits to do picking, lose their housing benefit etc and once the job has finished it can take 3-4 months to get benefits back.

        Thats why they won’t do it

  44. Lindsay McDougall
    September 25, 2018

    And let’s not forget some of the implications for this strategy:

    Investment in robotics and artificial intelligence requires capital expenditure and there is only so much capital to go round. This implies that White Elephants like HS2 should be cancelled, particularly since government infrastructure guru Sir John Armitt estimates that another £43 billion will have to be spent on spur rails from HS2 stations to city centres in order to make it work. The rules of evaluation are that that £43 billion should have been included in the original estimate.

    Again, money could be saved by providing an extra runway at Gatwick rather than expanding Heathrow.

    Investment in robotics and AI should be controlled by the private sector, not by a State driven industrial strategy. As a motorist, I will not take kindly to being bossed around by the highway authorities in order to accommodate driverless cars. Fiat have designed a car that will brake when it sees a speed limit sign. How hard will it brake and will that put other drivers in danger? The NHS, with its free-at-the-point-of-consumption ain’t-our-foreigners-wonderful philosophy, is hardly the organisation most likely to warm to the introduction of AI. NHS staff complain to me that they do too much form filling and have too little access to computers.

    Making the best use of technology on the railways will probably be easier if track and train are reintegrated. The model I propose is not nationalisation but corridor or area private monopolies, with lots of inter-modal competition from planes, buses, cars and road haulage, an update on the pre-WW2 financial and operational model.

    Finally, there is enormous waste in international organisations, government departments, utilities and large corporations AT THE TOP. Do we need all those economic forecasters, all using basically the same treasury model? What do get out of our IMF and OECD membership? Are all those non-executive directors serving on the boards of banks, building societies and utility companies really necessary? If the House of Commons is overstaffed by 50 MPs, is the House of Lords not overstaffed by 200? Are OFGEN, OFCOM and the Race Relations Committee doing a necessary job, or even a good job? Why not get rid of them – staff, offices and pensions?

    You get my drift.

  45. BOF
    September 26, 2018

    ‘Many people are tired of the model of business which keeps inviting in people from the continent to take low paid jobs.’

    How unfortunate that we have a Chancellor who seems wedded to that model! We definitely need one with a more enlightened vision.

  46. Margaret
    September 26, 2018

    I have always said that going cheaper and cheaper will eventually lead to disappearing up their own exhausts. Whilst inexpensive and plentiful is good short term you may notice that businesses stagger their lower prices and higher prices to keep profitable. Similarly the worth of the workers who make the profit should be graduated and not go along with cheap is best. These tactics employ the desperate without hope and are living from day to day.

  47. Ron Olden
    September 28, 2018


    Boris Johnson’s proposals are a bombshell.

    His proposed ‘deal’, if it were agreed, would be an excellent for the UK.

    The trouble with this (and the deal that Corbyn says he wants) however, is that they depend on the EU agreeing it. We cannot dictate the terms of any ‘deal’.

    It they won’t agree Mrs May’s near surrender. They’re not going to agree what Boris proposes in a million years.

    Boris is right that many of these things e.g. aviation etc can be agreed easily, and will be. But he’s wrong when he says the ‘dispute mechanism’ is easy to negotiate.

    There will have to be an overall authority to settle and enforce any disputes. And I can’t see the EU agreeing to it being anyone other than the European Court of Justice. If they did the EU would unravel.

    But the main problem with this new proposal is that we cannot simply say we’ll ‘negotiate’ ‘this deal’ or ‘that deal’.

    The EU will not agree this. It would compromise the Single Market. If there is a deal like this in place, the EU will never agree to us being free to negotiate our own trade deals with the rest of the world, and we will have to carry on collecting their import taxes, including on food.

    If Boris advised us to Vote Leave on the assumption that any deal which takes our fancy is available then he misled us. Fortunately I don’t think that any did vote Leave on that assumption so the only person Boris has misled is himself.

    There are also some strange (and even Remainer) aspects to this proposal.

    First of all he wants to ‘buy time’ by extending the transition period until after December 2020. So he’s proposing to effectively stay in the EU indefinitely until this ‘deal’ is agreed. Which might be forever.

    It would certainly end up running beyond the 2022 General Election and would be political disaster. The only reason why the 2017 General Election was good idea (and I still think it was ) is that it put the date for next one well beyond the March 29th 2019 leaving date and the end of the transition period.

    Boris’s proposals would involve us being a true Vassal State. We’d have to accept continuing EU jurisdiction without us having a say in it’s running, or even having any MEPs.

    We would also have to keep paying a budget contribution.

    The present budget period ends in 2020, which, owing to the fact that we agreed it before the Referendum is largely why it is thought that we have at least a moral obligation to pay a ‘Divorce Settlement’. If we stay in transition longer they are (not unreasonably) going to demand we keep paying.

    But we will have no say in setting the amount of that budget and on what it gets spent.

    The strange aspect of Boris’s proposed ‘deal’ is the reference to ‘technological solutions’ to keep the supply chain running smoothly, and to have checks beyond the Northern Ireland Border?

    But why do we need these ‘solutions’ and ‘checks’, if the deal itself includes zero tariffs, zero quotas and free trade?

    There are only three possible outcomes to these negotiations. We either Remain in, accept whatever deal Mrs May can get, or leave with No Deal at all.

    If it were me I would Leave with No Deal (i.e. Blind Brexit, but with whatever we’ve agreed by then) and then carry on negotiating as best we can to get whatever we can get.

    Anyone who has voted Leave (and especially the 80% of MPs who voted to invoke Article 50), on the assumption that we can pick and choose the terms of any deal at will, has made a serious reckless mistake

    We would have been better off Remaining. When you voted Leave, or to invoke Article 50 you indicated a willingness to contemplate the eventuality of leaving with ‘No Deal’.

  48. Edwardm
    September 29, 2018

    You are right we should not need to keep taking labour in to this country – it exacerbates the overcrowding problem. new Zealand with a much smaller population can manage its economy and provide all-round government services. We can and need to work with the size population we already have – its more than big enough for everything we wish to do. The competitive market in jobs and wages will drive labour to where it is worth the most and will drive efficiencies.

    On a personal note, I am an older skilled work (post-graduate engineer in software, electronics and physical sciences) made redundant and I can rarely get interviews and have been unemployed for years – yet at some of the few interviews at companies where I have been shown around, they employ some foreign engineers. This is an employer problem combined with a political problem.
    Thus, I am in a situation that which ever con/lab/lib party I vote for, owing to their immigration policies, I am voting for my continued unemployment, until such time as we only admit workers when there is no British person who has or can be shortly updated to have the desired skills. We need to question employers who say they can’t find suitable workers.

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