Well, can anyone guess? Anyone? Bueller?
Yup, that’s right – the answer is ‘take in more immigrants’:
As David Cameron notes: "By the end of today about 1,400 women will have died in pregnancy or childbirth, nearly all of them in the developing world." In the same period 25,000 children will have died as a result of global poverty.What about our standard of living? Isn’t that what’s supposed to concern our government the most?
Meanwhile, the other half of the world – those who live on less than $2.50 per day – might look on incredulously at the PM's "commitment to supporting" them. This is accompanied by a commitment to cap already declining immigration to the UK by non-EU nationals, thereby blocking their chances of immeasurably improving their standard of living.
The use of immigration as a tool for dealing with global poverty is not new. Indeed it was the economist John Kenneth Galbraith who observed that: "Migration is the oldest action against poverty. It selects those who most want help. It is good for the country to which they go; it helps break the equilibrium of poverty in the country from which they come."And yet, it’s the voters that decided they were not in favour of more mass immigration. They could have voted for a pro-immigration party. They didn’t.
Galbraith's observations remain pertinent. A World Bank study estimated that the benefits of the rich countries allowing just a 3% rise in their labour force through relaxing immigration restrictions would result in a gain of $300bn for developing countries.
But doesn't migration drag down the wages of the lower paid? Research differs, but the overall view seems to be that immigration has not had statistically significant impacts on wages for those on low incomes.And what about population density, housing prices, competition for services, cultural clashes..?
Are all of those 'not significant'?
And what about migrants "taking jobs"? As the economist Philippe Legrain points out there is no evidence that migrants are "taking jobs" – the increased supply of labour has been matched by demand.That’s why we have so many on the dole, I suppose?
But Hina doesn’t just want useful migrants (whom, incidentally, don't get the easy ride that you'd expect).
No, that would be unfair, and unequal. We need to take in the unskilled too:
The Labour government substantially pushed up the costs of migrating to the UK, making it all but impossible for the poorest to move to the UK. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), for example, calculated that an average-sized family from Bangladesh seeking to come to the UK under tier 1 of the UK's immigration system would require approximately 1.3m Bangladeshi takas. This would typically take an accountant or professor in Bangladesh more than 18 years to earn.I wonder how many Hina plans to take in?
Unskilled labour exists in surplus in developing countries, and therefore represents one of their most valuable exports. We receive skilled labour at subsidised rates, as the costs of training it will have been borne by developing countries – hardly the basis of a fair transaction.Let’s stop, then. How about that, Hina?
Still, she does have an afterthought:
Our domestic poor must not be forgotten either. An immigration cap does little to address their real needs. We would do better to raise and enforce the minimum wage, enhance training opportunities, step up labour law protection, and refocus public expenditure on frontline services such as housing.Sure, why not.
We can easily afford it, after all, right?