Thursday 25 August 2016 1:00 am

Theresa May warned lower migration could trigger recession


I'm City A.M.'s economics reporter, looking at the news, stories and data that move markets in the UK, Europe and around the globe. I also cover broader developments in the business and political worlds at home and abroad.

I'm City A.M.'s economics reporter, looking at the news, stories and data that move markets in the UK, Europe and around the globe. I also cover broader developments in the business and political worlds at home and abroad.

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The prime minister has been warned cutting migration could push the UK into recession and trigger a prolonged economic slowdown.

As new figures are set to show net migration still running at more than three times the government’s “tens of thousands” target, experts lined up to slam Theresa May’s commitment to cut the number of new arrivals as “arbitrary”, “blunt” and “totally wrong-headed”.

“Setting an arbitrary target that will limit the number of skilled, entrepreneurial and hard-working migrants coming into the country will of course adversely affect economic growth,” said Mark Littlewood, director general at the Institute for Economic Affairs.

Read more: Brits want EU citizens to be given right to stay

Migration expert Jonathan Portes of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr), told City A.M. any fall in immigration “will further exacerbate any economic slowdown”, while Seamus Nevin at the Institute of Directors (IoD) said: “We do not think doing severe damage to the economy is a price worth paying to hit an arbitrary target.”

He added: “Both the government’s own Migration Advisory Committee — the expert body that researches and advises the government on migration policy — and the Office for Budget Responsibility have warned that cutting migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ could bring our economy closer to recession.”

The outcry over the government’s migration policy was intensified after a new poll from British Future found only 37 per cent of the public think the 100,000 net migration target can be met, even after the UK has formally left the European Union.

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