Dismore speaks on impact of Brexit on the London Labour Market

Speaking during the City Hall Economy Committee session on the impact of Brexit on the London Labour Market, Andrew Dismore AM, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden commented on the risks posed by Brexit to employment rights, the need for public procurement to support improvements in low pay and conditions, and the misunderstandings about migration on the labour market, especially for lower paid people. (video here)

After the hearing, Mr Dismore said:

‘I was pleased to have had the opportunity to air a number of important issues. I am fearful about the risk to workplace employment rights, post Brexit. The Conservative Government has already shown that it is not concerned by the way that it has made existing rights unenforceable for many, due to the fees they have introduced for employment tribunals. Unfair dismissal claims have dropped by 73%, for example. Our health and safety at work protections are also rooted in EU law, and the Government has indicated in the recent past their desire to water them down.

‘I am pleased that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has indicated that he will ensure that the GLA does not employ directly, or use contractors who employ, staff on pay below the London Living Wage. I believe that public procurement rules can be improved to spread this good practice.

‘There are many myths about the impacts of migration especially from the EU  on the labour market. The Office for Budget Responsibility has found that EU migration adds 0.6% a year to the UK’s economic growth and HMRC figures show that EU migrants pay £2.54bn more in tax and national insurance than they receive in tax credits or child benefit..

‘A major study by the LSE earlier this year reported that the effect of unskilled migration on pay was minimal- less than 1% over  8 years- and that wages were held down by the consequences  of the 2008 recession and slow recovery after it, not by migration.

‘Restrictions on migration from the EU to London would have a major impact on our capital’s economy. There is no indication of where other workers would come from to replace those lost to London’s labour market. The UK has a skills mismatch to London vacancies, due to long term failures to train people; and as the experts told us at the committee session, whilst migrants are very mobile and flexible in where they work and what they do, it is inconceivable to expect workers from other parts of  the country with high unemployment  to move to London, due to the cost of housing and other living costs; the fact that many of these jobs are comparatively low paid and require anti-social hours and difficult working conditions for example in the hospitality and care sectors; and this   skills mismatch for higher end jobs.

‘I believe London needs special arrangements to allow it to continue to recruit the staff it needs for our businesses to thrive, from wherever in the  world they come including the EU.’