Gordon Brown's promise of 'British jobs for British workers' rings hollow, ONS figures show
Migrant workers have more than accounted for the increase in employment in the last two years while the number of Britons in work has plummeted.
By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 7:21AM GMT 24 Nov 2008
Jobs filled by foreigners has soared by almost half a million over the period while the number of UK-born employees has slumped by 149,000.
It shows the huge influence immigration is having on the workforce and critics said it makes a mockery of Gordon Brown's pledge of “British jobs for British workers”.
Young migrant workers and those over 50 also now earned more, on average, than their British counterparts.
Figures last week showed net immigration has hit its second highest level on record after increasing five-fold under Labour.
And a report by one of Prince Charles' official charities warned rural communities are struggling to cope with the unprecedented number of overseas workers descending on their towns and villages.
The shadow home secretary, Dominic Grieve, said: “This makes a mockery of Gordon Brown's ill-advised comment that he would create British jobs for British workers.
“As well as being a ridiculous thing to say it has shown he does not have any credible answers to the problems we face, which are being made worse by the recession.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the overall level of employment increased by around 320,000 between September 2006 and September this year – up from 29.17 million to 29.49 million.
However, during the two year period the number of UK workers in jobs fell by 149,000 while the number of migrant employees increased by 469,000.
Similarly, in the years since Labour took power, non-UK born workers have made up around two thirds of the growth in employment.
Total employment grew by 2.79 million between September 1997 and September 2008 but 62 per cent of that was made up by an increase of 1.7 million migrants in work.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: “The number of jobs in the economy is not fixed but it is striking that there have been a major increase in the employment of economic migrants of nearly half a million while the number of British people in employment has fallen by 149,000 in the same period.
“It is hard to believe that these two developments are entirely unconnected.”
Separate statistics from the ONS show UK workers earn more a week, on average, than their foreign counterparts (438 a week), with only Americans (635), those from Australia and New Zealand (577) and western Europeans such as the French and Germans (510).
However foreign workers in the 18 to 24 age bracket now earn more than their British counterparts (290 a week as opposed to 288), as do those aged over 50 (469 a week compared to 462 for Britons).
MPs warned last week that public services will be unable to cope after immigration rose to its second highest level on record.
Despite the Government's pledge to cut numbers, net immigration has increased fivefold since 1997 to 237,000 last year and means immigration has added more than 1.85 million to the population in a decade.
A separate report for one of the Prince of Wales's official charities last week also warned a threefold increase in the flow of migrant workers into the countryside has had a “disproportionate impact'' on small rural towns and villages, which lack the necessary resources and infrastructure to adapt.
Housing, health care, education and policing have come under increasing pressure, according to the study for the Business in the Community charity.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Government and independent research continues to find no significant evidence of negative employment effects from migration.
“The tough new points system will ensure only those foreign workers we need and no more can come here to work. It is also flexible, allowing us to raise or lower the bar according to the needs of the labour market and the country as a whole.”