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Immigration – taking the Great out of Britain?

From Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and Romans, right through to more recent newcomers from Europe, immigrants to Great Britain haven’t always been made welcome when they first arrive. Beyond the bluster, however, there's a compelling story about the impact of immigration on business success
By Richard Lee

May 2014: The truth is despite all the claptrap about losing our identity and our jobs, Britain is an ever-changing amalgam of people from all over the globe. The benefits of this are many and varied – why is London one of the (if not the most) dynamic cities in the world?

Closer to home, we have a manufacturing facility in Ford, West Sussex. Ford is about as leafy, middle-England as you can get… well apart from the Ford Prison, which is right next door to our site.Ford Prison Our manufacturing operation relies on immigrants; as well as English workers, we employ Poles, Lithuanians, and Latvians.

All of them are very hard working and willing to work un-sociable hours, plus they really do care about keeping their jobs and helping the company to prosper. We are currently running 24 hours, 7 days a week at our Ford site – this would be impossible without this conscientious and willing workforce.

So when I hear people’s concerns about immigrants, benefit tourism, creating local enclaves etc. I see a different picture…I see people who want to live and work in a country where they are treated with respect and are appreciated.

One final thought: a paper presented at the Royal Economic Society Annual Conference this April suggests that GDP will be 11% lower by 2060 if we reduce net immigration from current levels. Even if the research, which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Counci, is only 50% correct,  that is still a massive impact.


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