Labour leader would expect immigration to fall on his watch
AS PRIME minister, Jeremy Corbyn expects immigration to fall — not because immigrants would be unwelcome but since clamping down on wage-cutting and exploitation would remove bosses’ incentive to bring in cheap labour, he said yesterday.
The Labour leader told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that immigration is needed because sectors such as the NHS rely heavily on foreign-born workers in the absence of government funding for higher education and skills training but that the party would not frustrate the Brexit process.
Abusive rhetoric used against migrants by the likes of US president-elect Donald Trump and France’s far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen should be challenged, he said.
Mr Corbyn added: “The migrants that come to this country contribute and pay taxes and, actually, our NHS would simply not survive without the level of migrant labour and migrant doctors and others that are here, because we haven’t invested enough in high skills within our own economy.
“Communities coming together to improve education, and health, and housing work better together. Blaming minorities doesn’t build houses.”
Mr Trump needs to “grow up” and realise the US economy also depends on migrants, he said. He accused the billionaire Republican businessman of exploiting the genuine anger of citizens who feel left behind by globalisation.
Mr Corbyn said that the family of his Mexican wife Laura Alvarez felt “absolute anger and outrage” at Mr Trump’s campaign pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
Talking about Ms Le Pen, Mr Corbyn said: “She uses awful and absurd language against Muslims.
“The reality is she does not have an economic answer to problems faced by left communities in France any more than Ukip has an economic answer to the left-behind communities in Britain.”
Mr Corbyn’s Labour predecessor Ed Miliband was singing from a different hymn sheet on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, insisting that limits on the free movement of workers must be included in a single-market Brexit deal because “free movement cannot carry on exactly as it did before.”
But he said he did believe that Mr Corbyn could win a general election, adding: “I actually think that his political outsider status is something that is going to be helpful to him.”