There will be a shameful betrayal of the Brexit low-paid | Deborah Orr

Glad tidings in the latest report from Labour Market Outlook. Labour shortages are developing in Britain, as the number of EU migrants falls. Hurrah! Brexit hasn’t even started yet and it’s working already.

Except that not everyone is cheering. Gerwyn Davies, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which commissioned the survey along with employment agency the Adecco Group, had downbeat things to say. “This is creating significant recruitment challenges in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles. With skills and labour shortages set to continue, there’s a risk that many vacancies will be left unfilled, which could act as a brake on output growth in the UK in the years ahead.”

Or to put it another way, employers want people who will work for low wages even though they are skilled. Otherwise, their profit margins just won’t be enough to make running a business worth their while.

That’s why people such as Davies seem to talk in technocratic management-speak. It’s hard to express this stuff in plain English and make it, or anyone involved in it, sound positive. Indeed, anyone who wonders why the political left and centre don’t have an adequate response to rightwing populism in the west might want to spend 10 minutes considering how Davies’s warning could be couched in terms that sound welcome to traditional or potential voters, rather than like something from Project Fear.

Try explaining the…


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