In one sentence, the Bank of England puts the Tories to shame on immigration

Mark Carney Theresa May

The head of the Bank of England has given a speech about Brexit and the economy that flies in the face of right-wing claims about immigration. And if enough people take note, it could finally put to rest the idea that immigration creates inequality.


On 18 September, Mark Carney, the governor of England’s central bank, gave a lecture at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington, DC. Speaking to an audience of powerful economists and bankers, he looked at how Brexit may affect the economy.

And he made a point about immigration that counters what the Conservatives and UKIP have been saying. Carney said [pdf, p19]:

Higher levels of migration in the UK have not, however, been associated with significant reductions in overall wage growth…

In other words, higher immigration hasn’t led to lower wages.


On 6 September, Vince Cable claimed that, when Theresa May was Home Secretary, she “suppressed” reports with similar findings to Carney’s. The Liberal Democrat leader said:

When I was business secretary, there were up to nine studies that we looked at that took in all the academic evidence. It showed that immigration had very little impact on wages or employment. But this was suppressed by the Home Office under Theresa May, because the results were inconvenient.

Read on...

But May wasn’t having it. At Prime Minister’s Questions that day, she repeated the Conservative line that immigrants are to blame for inequality:

We continue to believe as a government that it’s important to have net migration at sustainable levels – we believe that to be the tens of thousands – because of the impact particularly it has on people at the lower end of the income scale in depressing their wages.

And there was nothing, of course, about her party’s own policies of austerity.

‘Robust link’

As The Canary previously reported, poverty has grown since the Tories came to power in 2010. More people are using food banks. And a 2016 study found a “robust link” between benefit cuts and food bank use.

Now, the Bank of England has added a piece of evidence that immigration is not what drives down wages. So perhaps Brexit isn’t going to be the solution we all need.

Get Involved!

Join The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

Support The Trussell Trust’s campaign to end hunger.

Featured image via Flickr / Flickr

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed