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House of lords tells UK government to limit immigration

The following was sent to me by Immigration Watch Canada. It has also been posted to their site. The full article "Migration has brought 'zero' economic benefit" by Philip Johnston and Robert Winnett, together with comments, can be found on the UK's Telegraph newspaper (

The (House of Lords Economic Affairs) committee has rebuked the Government for using "irrelevant and misleading" economic statistics to justify the boom in immigration in the past decade.

The committee...includes the former chancellors (Finance Ministers) Lord Lawson and Lord Lamont, former City figures such as Lord Turner and Lord Vallance and leading economists including Lord Skidelsky and Lord Layard. Several ministers are members.

Lord Wakeham said: "The argument put forward by the Government that large-scale net immigration brings significant economic benefits for the UK is unconvincing. (Our 8-month study has) found no evidence to support their position.

There is little or no economic benefit to Britain from the present high level of immigration. The immigrants are not needed to fill labour shortages or help fund the state pension for retiring Britons.

  • High levels of immigration threaten to price millions of Britons out of the housing market over the next 20 years.
  • Government statistics on immigration are "seriously inadequate" and compromise the ability accurately to set interest rates and allocate £100 billion in public funding.
  • Certain groups, including the low-paid, some ethnic minorities and young people seeking to get on the jobs ladder may suffer because of competition from immigrants.
  • Immigrants have an "important economic impact" on public services with some schools struggling to cope with the rapidly-rising number of children who do not speak English as a first language.

See also

"House of Lords' immigration report 'forgets environment'" by the UK's Optimum Population Trust which is critical of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee for understating the environmental impact of immigration. Also published here.

"Migration has brought 'zero' economic benefit" By Philip Johnston and Robert Winnett, 29 March 2008 in the UK's Telegraph newspaper.

"Report says immigration costly" By Hsin-Yin Lee 9 April 2008, in the Washington Times


Suzy's picture

Interesting to see that a lot of commenters at the article agree with them! Unfortunately if you oppose high levels of immigration you get called "racist" (though racism has nothing to do with the issue).

Actually, although this may seem unfashionable and may make me unpopular with many population stability advocates, not to mention the usual 'open borders' crowd, I think, contrary to what Suzy wrote, race as well as sheer numbers, should be raised in discussions about immigration.

Certainly race comes into the question of Immigration into East Timor, West Papua and Tibet (and in Australia going back to 1788), where local people do not want to become minorities in their own land. If that is valid in those cases, why not for Australia in the 20th and 21st centuries?

The implicit reason for European Australians not being accorded the same status as other victims of high immigration is that Australia is a colonialist settler society which had early dispossessed another culture, namely the Australian Aboriginals.

It turns out that Aboriginals don't like high immigration any more than many European Australians do. So clearly, far from rectifying our own forefathers' poor, and often shameful treatment of Aboriginals, high immigration is only compounding the problem for them.

I think 'racism' is, to a certain extent, a natural part of the human condition. It is natural for people to prefer to be amongst people who look similar to themselves and behave the same way. Does this make acceptable the actions of groups like the Ku Klux Klan in the US, or, worse still, Nazi genocide, the Armenian holocaust, ethnic cleansing in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, etc? Of course any decent compassionate person would emphatically disagree.

However abhorrence of these genocidal excesses of extreme racists, should not prevent us from openly considering questions of race and racism.

I personally would have preferred the racial composition of 1960's Australia to have been largely preserved, as I believe most Swedes and Norwegians would have preferred their countries to have remained predominantly and homogeneously Nordic. If Australians had been asked back then if they would have preferred to have become a minority in their own country they would have emphatically rejected it. However, this is the way things are turning out without the original inhabitants ever having been consulted.

In the 1960's most Australians would have accepted that the complete exclusion of virtually all people from non-European backgrounds was unfair, but now, the whole situation has been turned around to a point where we are supposed to welcome the extinguishment of our European heritage by other cultures.



G'day Alex,

I think the issues can be considered separately.

In the past, the immigration 'debate' has been dominated by those favouring big numbers - largely business interests. Regardless of the valid arguments put forward by those in favour of population stability, the big numbers crowd has been able to bash us with the allegation that any argument for population restraint is racist.

Obviously, this is not the case. One could argue that Australia would be best served by a very small immigration program comprising people of any imaginable descent. Such a position would be consistent with achieving a stable population. But it could not reasonably be described as racist.

On the other hand, it could be argued that Australia is best served by intakes of 500,000 a year - all sourced from within a tightly defined racial group. This would be disastrous for population stability and for our social and environmental wellbeing. That said, it could also be described as racist.

The big growth crowd has deliberately muddled population stability with the composition of migrant intakes in the public mind - precisely so that it can avoid dealing with the real issues associated with unsustainable population growth. I tend to think that any consideration of these concepts should recognise that while they are related to a degree, they are not inextricably linked. To my mind, putting them back together tends to reinforce the confusion created by the Corporate/Trot open borders alliance in the 80's.

Personally, I'd like to see the preferences of Australians reflected in the composition of our migrant intakes. Advances in technology mean that conducting referenda on the issue would not be demanding. Within the context of a considered and scientifically based population policy (which would be solely about numbers) there's room for the will of the Australian people to be reflected in terms of the composition of migrant intakes. Reflecting this will; giving the people a direct stake in the determining the future face of Australia, would be the act of a Government that truly recognised the sovereignty of the people. It'd be an inspiring thing.

A third related, but not integral, issue relates to whether we encourage assimilation or ethnic balkanization (multiculturalism) once migrants arrive. But time and space constraints prevail..

All three issues are important and all three have suffered through being hijacked by special interests in the past. In my simple opinion, the most effective way to deal with each is separately.

Yours for Australia,

I think that the real issue is control and influence within one's community.
If vast numbers of new people come into a community, it doesn't matter if they are of similar ethnicity or appearance; they will still impact on logistics, hugely disrupting local networks which are the basis of government and democratic organisation.

This is happening at the minute in neighourhoods all over the country, where waves of people are selling up inner suburban homes, to find cheaper dwellings in outlying neighbourhoods, as the cost of living rises. The recipient neighbourhoods are being destroyed by this population pressure, even though it comes from people speaking the same language, born and raised in the same country.

The fact is that government, by following the big business agenda, is disempowering citizens by disorganising them spatially, interrupting their family, neighbourhood and employment networks.

Overseas entrants are, of course, driving the property price and cost of living inflation, simply by ADDING to the population and thereby to demand on resources. The Australian-born and long-term citizens are responding to this induced inflation by moving out of the densely populated areas where the costs of land are usually greatest. As they move out, they raise the population density and inflation in the outer suburbs. The State uses the situation to impose draconian planning laws on all citizens.

And, bingo, one day you wake up and there is not even the semblance of democracy and the government is not even pretending there is.

This is what has happened overnight in Victoria, with the "New Residential Zones in Victoria" questionnaire, which has come up with a fait accompli and presented it to Melburnians in the guise of seeking their opinion. Under the pretext that population is growing uncontrollably, the Victorian Government seeks to take away all the control that people that people had over their local environments, streets, and neighbourhoods, and believed was their right. The government fails to take responsibility for the population growth, although it was clearly induced by design and policy. I really wonder how much worse the situation can get.