back to article UK immigration rules hit science just as it rejoins €100B Horizon program

Following the UK's success in rejoining the EU’s Horizon science program, the government has promised a "push" to maximize the nation's participation so local academics, researchers, and businesses of all sizes can seize the opportunity of being part of the €100 billion scheme. Science and technology secretary Michelle Donelan …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    The Register has asked the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology whether it was consulted on the new immigration rules and whether it was given the opportunity to assess their impact on the UK getting the most from its participation in Horizon.

    Good grief! Do you really think this has been properly planned and though through, along with the various budget and inflationary consequence, to allow a quick answer to any questions?

    Or more likely is a knee-jerk reaction to appease a portion of the tabloid readers too dumb to think it through for themselves?

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Our inflation problem is completely misunderstood by the geniuses at the wheel.

      It is mainly driven by high energy costs and taxes, which translates into higher prices and wage pressures.

      Government and incompetent Bank of England are only adding fuel to the fire.

      That said higher wages don't cause this type of inflation.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge

        What I don't understand is, of all the options supposedly considered for cutting inflation, nobody mentioned the idea of cutting VAT back to 17.5%

        Would that not have reduced inflation at a stroke?

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Where does the gov then get the lost VAT revenue from to pay for all of the stuff we need/take for granted? NHS, schools, police, armed services, etc.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            NHS - crumbly hospitals and stressed overworked staff (who were recently on strike over it); schools (ditto); police (will turn up if you dare to misgender a toddler, don't expect them to bother if it's something mundane like shoplifting); etc etc.

            With another round of cutbacks to public services and more proposals to alleviate the tax burden of party donors the rich, I think public tax money is already being massively misspent.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Yeah but we will be able to get from almost London to nearly Birmingham slightly faster! That will be amazing!

              1. Jason Hindle

                Technically, I think it's Wormwood Scrubs to Birmingham. I doubt the line will ever reach Euston (which, oddly enough, has been dug up already).

            2. sabroni Silver badge
              Facepalm

              re: police (will turn up if you dare to misgender a toddler

              Oh no! Was your conservative voice silenced??

          2. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Devil

            > Where does the gov then get the lost VAT revenue

            Well, the idea would be that it would stimulate the economy, so in the long run they would get more VAT revenue from the increased growth.

            But what they did instead was to cut inheritance tax - that does absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy, and it only benefits the rich, i.e. tory voters.

            1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Well, the idea would be that it would stimulate the economy, so in the long run they would get more VAT revenue from the increased growth.

              And in the short term what do they cut?

              What you are saying sounds a lot like Trussnomics, and look how well we did out of that!

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                Devil

                No, it's only Trussonomics if you don't do anything else to balance the books.

                They could increase other taxes, such as income. If people have slightly less money to spend (because of higher income tax) but stuff costs less by the same proportion, does that not reduce inflation? What am I missing here?

                1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                  My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                  The traditional explanation of the cause of much inflation is 'too much money chasing too few goods'. Not that both elements have to be in place for every contributor to inflation, but it's one driver. The housing market is an example where there's a vicious feedback loop caused by the ongoing lack of affordable housing, pushing up house prices (from 1992 until very recently, anyway) along with the cost of renting because houses are a necessity: people need to have somewhere to live, however much it costs them (this is an example of internal policy failure). These last two years we've had fuel prices being forced up by a reduction in supply, again because people need fuel for heat and power, however much it costs them (an example of external circumstance, which is usually only avoidable -- if at all -- by having a good foreign policy). This leaves people with less money so they either go on strike if there are no better paying jobs within their reach or they cut back on other purchases. Either way, producers cut back on production, which depresses the economy.

                  The traditional way of getting out of a slump is investment, the Keynesian idea of governments saving during the boom so that they can spend during the inevitable bust, but Cameron showed us in 2010 just how anathema that idea is to modern Conservatism and we're still paying for that mistake (although since the end of the post-war consensus in 1979, Tory governments have mostly financed investment and tax cuts by selling the family silver, but there's not much of that left now -- remember the dismal attempt a decade ago to sell our woodlands?). Some businesses would undoubtedly like to borrow money so they can invest their way out of inefficient production, but the cost of money is high because inflation is high because Liz Truss and Kwasi Karteng twatted the markets like a pair of total twats and the Bank of England had to step in to protect sterling (without which action trade and government borrowing would have become more expensive, even on top of the Brexit footbullet).

                  Giving people more money to spend would help the economy pick up again, but giving too much at once would swamp the producers with a demand they'd take time to ramp up to meet, which would push up inflation (if only in the short term, but with inevitable knock-on effects). For example, if you gave every household £500 and half the country decided to spend it on replacing whichever white goods in their kitchen are closest to falling apart, the white goods manufacturers (and importers) wouldn't be able to cope. It could take them six months to meet demand, and they would put their prices up to pay for overtime, the additional energy, raw materials, transport capacity, etc, required until everything -- in both supply and demand -- stabilised. And if you give the wrong people money, like by proposing an inheritance tax cut, they are more likely to spend it in a different country or just squirrel it away offshore.

                  The trick you want to see happen is the 'but stuff costs less' bit, which usually happens as a result of an increase in productivity. The UK has been particularly bad at improving productivity for the last 20 years, mostly due to a short-termist attitude amongst government (obsessed with headlines) and across much of business (obsessed with share prices). Businesses haven't been investing in people to anything like the degree that they should: supporting local education (secondary and tertiary), proper apprenticeships and worthwhile re-training, decent wages and pension schemes (instead of relying on tax credits and City fucking con artists to make up the shortfall), good career progression and flexible working to match a changing world, etc. All of which they could put just as much time and effort into lobbying government to support or provide a level playing field as they have in looking to cut regulations in pursuit of another penny on the dividends. When companies treat people like shit, people aren't motivated to work hard, and will also do things the government doesn't like, such as jacking in work by the million when in sight of retirement and living off savings and/or a partner's income until they can draw their pension.,

                  Sorry, I may have got off topic a bit there. I've probably also got a few bits wrong or missed something important out but, in my defence, my Economics O-Level was quite a long time ago...

                  1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                    Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                    "the Keynesian idea of governments saving during the boom so that they can spend during the inevitable bust, but Cameron showed us in 2010 just how anathema that idea is to modern Conservatism"

                    But Cameron didn't have a boom to do any saving during. The boom happened under Blair, and they didn't do any saving. Probably 'cos the people spending the savings would be the next government - can't be saving up money to hand over to your enemies.

                    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                      Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                      Blair and Brown did have a boom, from 2002 to 2006, but they spent a good chunk of it on the insanity of the Iraq War and didn't have enough left to throw at the 2007/08 crisis (arguably there wouldn't have been enough anyway to sort out the long under-regulated and over-exposed international banks and their CDO gambling addiction). Cameron and Osbourne were urged to borrow to invest by all the main economic institutes but they chose austerity instead, which was a purely ideological response in pursuit of shrinking the state that had no guarantee of fixing the problem; we're still paying for the consequences of that, both in lost services and money still having to be spent on debt servicing rather than on much-needed investment to maintain the services we do have.

                      It's frankly idiotic to suggest that Brown from 2008 (or Blair from 2006) didn't save up because they thought the next government would be a Conservative one. Not only were there no opportunities to save after 2007 but they didn't think the Tories would win. The 2010 election did not result in a clear victory and led to a coalition government, remember.

                  2. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                    Long piece…

                    The trouble is with the main causes of “inflation” being beyond the control of the UK government and BoE, recovering the economy is going to be difficult because an improved economy will require more of the products that have been causing the “inflation”, which given part of the problem is there are buyers for these products with bigger and deeper pockets than the UK, we can expect traditional supply-and-demand to push their prices higher still and so increase the rate of “inflation”….

                    So it would seem what the UK actually needs is a smaller economy which is much less dependent upon imported energy etc. …

                  3. Dacarlo

                    Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                    No need to apologise. It was spot on.

                  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                    Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                    but the cost of money is high because inflation is high because Liz Truss and Kwasi Karteng twatted the markets like a pair of total twats and the Bank of England had to step in to protect sterling

                    Now that's some proper gaslighting. Markets were "twatted" by BoE slow reaction to FED raising interest rates. This happened in many countries. However, in the UK this was twisted as a Truss's fault, a convenient scape goat and great opportunity to install man of the rich and incompetent at that - Sunak.

                    Productivity is down because wages do not reflect costs of living, high taxes are being wasted on middlemen and so on. Businesses aren't investing, because they have no money to do that.

                    I've probably also got a few bits wrong

                    Now, that's an understatement.

                    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                      Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                      Now that's some proper gaslighting. Markets were "twatted" by BoE slow reaction to FED raising interest rates. This happened in many countries. However, in the UK this was twisted as a Truss's fault, a convenient scape goat and great opportunity to install man of the rich and incompetent at that - Sunak.

                      Congratulations. You've combined gaslighting with conspiracist thinking while complaining about gaslighting. Very original.

                      I'd ask you why Kwarteng and Truss tried to bypass the OBR, why civil servants raising the alarm were briefed against and then fired, why Cabinet ministers announced that 'global factors' were the true cause of the crisis, why the BoE had to issue MPs with charts showing why that was untrue, why the Governor of the BoE had to go and explain it all very slowly to senior ministers until they finally grasped the problem, why Truss decided to sack Kwarteng, and why she then installed a chancellor who undid everything she'd previously desired and supported, but I've heard enough fairy stories for one day.

                    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                      Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                      "Productivity is down because wages do not reflect costs of living, high taxes are being wasted on middlemen and so on"

                      The costs of compliance with increasing regulation is an issue as well. A company may not be able to increase wages if some new law is passed that means they need to upgrade some big capital equipment long before what they have wears out, eg; within the next year. It might also be the need to hire compliance "professionals" to make sure the company is doing everything properly to avoid fines.

                  5. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: My twopenn'orth (if inflation hasn't already increased it to thruppence)

                    "The housing market is an example where there's a vicious feedback loop caused by the ongoing lack of affordable housing,"

                    When I see "lack of affordable housing", I always think, "where?" Silicon Valley, Knightsbridge, Dubai? If housing costs are too high for your income, you need to be looking to move. It's never about how much money is in your pay packet, but how much you have left over at the end of the month once all of the bills are paid. Housing is going to be a big chunk of expenses with transportation in second place. What I see is the lack of education on household budgeting, building wealth and basic financial skills that should be taught the last 2-3 years of school when many kids will have jobs and be paying for things on their own at least to some extent.

                    The other thing that I see as crazy is when politicians talk about "building" low income housing. For many areas, building isn't going to lead to affordable. Government either winds up having to heavily subsidize the housing and the occupants or they have to construct the most dismal flats that a prison designer can come up with. Affordable tends to be older homes in long established neighborhoods.

                    If you can't afford to rent a home in Beverly Hills on your salary, you shouldn't even try to stay in the neighborhood. It might also be a mistake to live in Watts and commute.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              re: and it only benefits the rich

              Bollocks.

              I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there. If I popped my clogs tomorrow then that house would be subject to Inheritance Tax as my total estate is well over the lower limit.

              Yes, the housing marked in the UK is broken beyond repair but that isn't down to me and I ain't a tory voter.

              1. anothercynic Silver badge

                Re: re: and it only benefits the rich

                Cutting the rate of tax does not help the ones further down the ladder. Raising the limit before the inheritance tax kicks in on the other hand does. As you point out, if your estate is above the lower limit today, and the limit was raised, you might find that your estate completely escapes the requirement for inheritance tax, whereas if they just diddled the rate, your beneficiaries would *still* have to pay inheritance tax, albeit a little less. Of course, if you have a spouse, they would possibly be exempt.

                But this is where you start doing some estate planning, using the tools that exist in the law books. You would be an absolute fool not to do so! This is how the high-end protect their assets against being stripped by the government.

                It's not just the housing market that is broken beyond repair. It's *everything*.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                So you're one of the reasons the working class can't find somewhere to live. Reducing council housing stock is one of the best tory tricks ever. We willingly sold our brothers and sisters out because of our short term greed.

                And you are the only person who bought a council house who hasn't already sold it at a massive profit.

                The state used to provide housing for everyone. It was a human right. This is why we need to get rid of human rights legislation.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                  A good amount of that old council housing stock was utter crap. The people who bought them generally then invested in their home to make them liveable. Flogging them off was in part to remove a huge burden from local councils for having to look after these properties.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                  Not sure why that got two downvotes - the AC boasting they'd bought their council house for a song is utterly unrepentant that they bought a public sector asset for vastly less than either it's replacement cost or true market value, boasts that they now have a net worth above the third of a million quid IHT threshold, and then says "but the housing crisis wasn't me". IT WAS YOU. There are many other complicating factors, notably neither main party allowing councils to build housing to replace social housing loss, and high immigration, but you need to man or woman up and own your personal share of this - you reduced the available stock of social housing for your own financial gain.

                  Some early comment called the government's bungling and belated attempts at curbing immigration as "appeasing a certain tabloid's readers" (or near enough). That's true up to a point, but the fundamental issue this country has is that for years housebuilding has woefully trailed "household formation", in large but not sole part due to migration. That has created a structural deficit of the order of 4m properties, and that suppressed demand is being filled by unwilling house-shares, co-habiting with parents or relatives. Just as important as housing is facilities - schools, hospitals, workplaces, shops, entertainment, police, fire, prisons, roads, rail - local transport and national transport links. Based on the last couple of years migration alone we need to build housing and those facilities equivalent to a city the size of Bristol every year. Where will these be built? Who will pay for them? What happens if immigration continues at the quarter of a million plus level?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                    OK, so the person bought their council house but they still live in it. Even if it was council owned it would still be occupied by this person and still out of circulation. Council houses are not magical, it is still one house for one family.

                    1. jotheberlock

                      Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                      The magical bit is that if they hadn't it would revert to the council on their death for free and be used to house someone else who needs it. Now it won't.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                        "for free"

                        It would probably need a refurb, new windows and electrics to meet current regs, insulation, ASHP etc. which will cost the council a LOT of money.

                        But what will happen is someone will buy it and live in it, costing the council nothing. Or one of this person's kids might live in it. Again no cost to the council.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                          "But what will happen is someone will buy it and live in it, costing the council nothing. Or one of this person's kids might live in it. Again no cost to the council."

                          You're not very clever, are you? Of course there was a cost to the council. Their social housing stock has been depleted, and the money they got for it was a fraction of the replacement cost. Taxpayers have subsidised the OP of this sub-thread to buy an asset at a laughable price. And by this Tory-instigated idea of right to buy, they've fuelled a decrease in the social housing stock, taken part in the transfer of wealth from public sector to specific private individuals, and more broadly participated in the changes that helped encourage the festering carbuncle of private sector rentals, and the whole buy-to-let mess that's driven up house prices and rents for the benefit of a few.

                          The only scenario where there was no cost to the council was where the occupier bought the house at it's like for like replacement cost, the council were required to build a replacement with the money. But under both the Tories and the hypocrites of Labour there's been no material construction of council housing since about 1982, with council housebuilding coming to a near enough complete halt in 1997. Maybe that's not the owner's direct fault, but they've certainly not paid fair value, they've participated in the drift of housing into private hands, and now they're whingeing that they'll have to pay IHT because their network is over a third of a million quid.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                            The OP said they bought their council house in 1980 for £13k (ish). In 1980 the average house price was only £20k. We don't know what area this ex council house was in, when it was built or what condition it was in. Houses in the late 70's and early 80s were a bit crap. Single glazed, very little insulation etc. and they loved those awful shiplap exteriors.

                            So that £13k might not have been a huge discount after all.

                            If it had been in council ownership for the last 43 years they would have had to spend taxpayer money keeping it up to the relevant standards for a rental property. Better windows, boiler, probably a new kitchen and bathroom at least once. A new tenant would likely want a nice freshly painted house, probably new carpets too.

                            So that is a non-zero amount for the council. I would hazard a guess that not having to do this saved the council a lot more than the discount on the sale in 1980.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                              "If it had been in council ownership for the last 43 years they would have had to spend taxpayer money keeping it up to the relevant standards for a rental property"

                              That's not entirely true.... In theory, that's what the rent paid to the council is supposed to be spent on.

                            2. Roland6 Silver badge

                              Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                              >” I would hazard a guess that not having to do this saved the council a lot more than the discount on the sale in 1980.%”

                              Which the government took back by cutting funding to local government… hence why so many councils are now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy; the logical conclusion to strict adherence to Conservative core beliefs…

                          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                            Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                            "Their social housing stock has been depleted, and the money they got for it was a fraction of the replacement cost."

                            The replacement cost will be more, but the new property should be up to current standards and not need massive amounts of updating. Public housing that's been lived in for some time can be quite nasty. Not only is there a cost for new flooring, there's also a cost of getting rid of the old flooring. Window coverings, holes in the plaster, paint, new appliances and the whole time, the property is not available.

                            The person I bought my home from also inherited 2 mobile homes when his father passed. The back taxes owed in addition to the need to fold up and dispose of those homes (vandalized big time when vacant) was far more money than the land was worth. He just "accidentally" failed to transfer those particular properties so the county would wind up inheriting them. The funny thing is that the county hasn't foreclosed on them either in 9 years for back taxes. Due to the laws in the state, they can't sell the properties for less than the tax owed so they'll just sit there with what's left of the mobile homes slowly collapsing into the dirt and the utility connections eroding away as well.

                  2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: I live in a former Council House. I bought it in 1980 for £13,500 and still live there.

                    "the AC boasting they'd bought their council house for a song is utterly unrepentant that they bought a public sector asset for vastly less than either it's replacement cost or true market value,"

                    I've seen plenty of public-supported housing and people do not maintain those properties at all. It's a good deal for both sides to sell them off cheap. A person willing to go in and do a complete gut and invest a whole lot of "sweat equity" to turn the house into something livable gives them a chance to own their own home. The council also relieves themselves of a property that going to cost lots of money to bring up to a minimum standard knowing that in 6 months to a year it's going to get torn up again. I doubt a council would go as far as upgrading a home as a new owner would, so if the house remains with the council, it won't be insulated up to current standards or have efficient appliances/HVAC fitted.

                    I had a couple of friends when I was younger that I should have learned from. They bought a cheap home in need of TLC located in a good neighborhood and put their back into it. Every groat they could scrap up went into fixing the house up. One of them I still keep in touch with traded up 4-5 times and is getting close to downsizing. He and his wife are going to have a 7 figure payday and may have to buy into a fancy neighborhood to limit their tax liability but with a smaller house that easier to maintain and less expensive to heat/cool.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: re: and it only benefits the rich

                Cutting inheritance tax disproportionately affects the rich. Reducing the basic rate of income tax by a small amount would have been barely noticed by the rich, but would have made low inome families lives better.

                My children are going to have to pay inheritance tax when my wife and I pop our clogs, but I'd rather they pay and make life more bearable for the less well off.

                (Anon, in case my kids are reading this :-)

                1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  Re: re: and it only benefits the rich

                  "My children are going to have to pay inheritance tax when my wife and I pop our clogs, but I'd rather they pay and make life more bearable for the less well off."

                  Ever wonder why the Royal family is rather well off? A big portion of that is generational wealth. The family has holdings (with covenants) that they've built up over generations. Yeah, yeah, go back a couple of hundred years and a bunch of money came from grinding the faces of the poor and all that. Today they can't get away with as much of that. The point is that the land and businesses they now own means they don't have to work or can take on work that doesn't pay. William and Catherine are able to focus on charity work and due to their status, can bring lots of attention to those causes. Their children won't have to work to support themselves, but aren't likely to be allowed to live lives of sloth and avarice supported by a healthy allowance. Of course, George will someday be king so his life is already mapped out for him.

            3. Roland6 Silver badge

              … and it only benefits the rich, i.e. tory voters.backers

              As only 3% of the population earn over £104k [ https://moneysprout.co.uk/percentage-of-uk-that-earns-over-100k/ ], ie. Circa 2m

              And the Conservatives received nearly 14m votes in 2019.

              there are Insufficient rich Tory voters to elect a government.

            4. MachDiamond Silver badge

              "But what they did instead was to cut inheritance tax - that does absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy, and it only benefits the rich, i.e. tory voters."

              Where do you set the "rich" bar? A family business could be valued fairly high if it's been around for a couple of generations and has amassed capital equipment, a store front and has paid off start-up debt, but only generate enough profits to give jobs to the people there. If the tax man comes along and says "inheritance tax", that could require liquidating the business or taking out a loan to pay the tax when somebody dies. (yes, there are ways around that, but it's just one example).

              While cutting inheritance tax might not stimulate the economy, keeping it high could do the opposite.

          3. Dacarlo

            They could start by closing some of the tax loopholes and recouping lost covid cash given to the likes of certain peers in the HoL who shall remain nameless.

            Maybe bung an import tax on Dyson wares just for shits n giggles.

          4. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "Where does the gov then get the lost VAT revenue from to pay for all of the stuff we need/take for granted?"

            The key phrase is "take for granted". Government could do much more without spending a farthing of taxpayer money by just cutting through all of the massive amounts of red tape they've been putting up for decades. There are plenty of things that get funded by government that are far more properly left to private industry. Plenty of social programs could do well if they could be granted space rather than needing to rent is and if there were less onerous insurance requirements. Yes, a dance class for mentally challenged kids could see some accidents that lead to a hospital visit, but overall, those classes can fill a need. If the cost of millions in liability insurance, background checks and certifications for the staff don't kill them off maybe they could get by on far less. Government and the courts could respect liability releases so all they have to carry is liability for extreme cases. I expect that some parents would be fine with that if it meant their child can go to activities geared towards their needs.

            The odd thing about taxes is that some studies have shown that a lower tax rate can net more money. Part of that might be due to people not playing little games to avoid taxes and businesses finding it less attractive to shift operations outside the country.

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Most of those researcher wages, as for care home staff, NHS, etc, ultimately come from gov funding - i.e. taxpayers. Us.

        So you either cut back on what you do, or you raise taxes. If you have to meet obligations, you raise taxes, and that reduces take-home pay and thus appears as inflation to those needing to pay for energy and food.

        The only higher wages that don't pressure the system are those brining in overseas money, something else Brexit has failed to help.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Raising taxes do not equal increased yield nor cutting spending does not equal worse services.

          For instance currently we have the highest taxes in living memory and literally nothing works and we have zero growth.

          In the short term government will see the increase in tax receipts, but that until people and businesses quickly run out of money and there will be nothing more to tax.

          One thing that caused carnage in public services were Sunak's IR35 changes designed to protect interests of big consultancies and outsourcing firms.

          This means any independent suppliers caught by these rules had to increase their prices at least 30%-50%, because of huge increase in their costs.

          Many of these suppliers closed their business leaving less competition and also meaning larger suppliers could increase their prices too.

          Basically we are paying more for getting less, for no other reason than to stuff pockets of big corporations with our money.

          There is even more corruption if you look closely. For instance, many departments can't set the pay scales to attract competent workers, so they are by design forced to use external suppliers, so they de facto pay for the worker's wage, supplier profits and profits of number of agencies between the worker and the client.

          Our system is highly inefficient, designed to screw the worker, tax payer and make the rich richer.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Raising taxes do not equal increased yield...

            That is true, a bit like profit margins don't always rise with increased price due to less business.

            ..nor cutting spending does not equal worse services

            Oh it usually does. Sure you can improve some efficiency in any organisation, but for something like the NHS you need folks doing stuff at a personal level, and that is a BIG cost with little realistic way round it.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              a bit like profit margins don't always rise with increased price due to less business.

              Here prices go up mostly because of increased costs (which are exacerbated by higher taxation). Companies need to have money to pay staff and keep the lights on.

              Sure there are areas where costs are actually getting lower (for instance big consultancies enjoy virtually free workforce and can pay next to nothing thanks to Sunak's IR35 loophole) and they make massive profits (easily shifted overseas with no tax paid in the UK).

              Oh it usually does

              Not in this case. Inefficiency in NHS is gargantuan. System is designed to funnel as much money as possible to private agencies that make massive profits while paying workers peanuts.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            >” For instance currently we have the highest taxes in living memory and literally nothing works and we have zero growth.”

            Swallowed the b*ll*cks of the IFS report which if believed effectively claims the government could increase the base rate of taxx and reintroduce the 98% tax band and the UK would become a low tax haven…

            The reason the UK is receiving higher tax revenues is because more people, particularly on the higher income levels, are actually paying tax…

            Additionally, more people are earning higher incomes because the economy has been doing well and so has been able to pay more…

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Higher tax revenues because the personal allowances haven't been adjusted

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                A bigger contributor was the introduction of the financial transaction levy; it gave the government a slice of the financial services market that previously it (and thus the taxpayers) weren’t directly benefiting from. Remember, the UK economy is still highly dependent upon financial services.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          >” ultimately come from gov funding - i.e. taxpayers. Us.”

          As does all the money the government has been throwing at the banks…

          The only difference is with government employee wages, the monies go directly to individuals in the real economy rather than via the banks who can leverage and multiply (typically by a factor of 10) the money they borrow.

      3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Spanish Practices

        The BoE really only has one lever for inflation, which is interest rates. The government could have done a lot more:

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/aug/03/spain-inflation-lower-bank-england-interest-rates

        Unsurprisingly, when UK inflation went up it was for reasons outside the government's control but now it's coming down they're taking all the credit for it.

      4. FIA Silver badge

        It is mainly driven by high energy costs and taxes

        Surely it's mainly driven by high energy costs (as a result of the Ukraine war) and high food cost (as a result of the perfect storm between the war in Ukraine and the increased costs and reduced access to cheap labour due to us leaving the EU) that are driving the current round of inflation?

        How do 'high taxes' contribute to this?

        We have a below OECD average tax burden, although it is split with an above average on personal income and a below average on corporate income and gains. Surely this should reduce personal income relatively, acting as a deflationary pressure?

        Which taxes would you reduce?

        Reducing the personal tax burden would act to increase inflation (greater spending power). Your other option is corporation tax, and as trickle down economics has been shown to be a fallacy before now, reducing that will only enrich the shareholders, many of whom invest for the long term, so would have little net short term inflationary effect.

        You would then either have worse public services, or have to increase personal taxation to pay for it. (which would help inflation, but would also be considered 'higher taxes').

        Or have I misunderstood, and you just mean 'taxes in general' contribute to inflation? But then I'm really confused??

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          >” Reducing the personal tax burden would act to increase inflation (greater spending power).”

          Given the causes of inflation and just how far some living costs have increased, only a few would actually be better off, most will still be struggling to pay the monthly bills even if their personal tax rate went to zero..

          So reducing the personal tax burden is simply a sound bite treat to the faithful rather than doing anything practical.

          >” Your other option is corporation tax”

          Which seems to be pointless, given it is a largely voluntarily paid tax, and the UK has one of the lowest rates for corporation tax.

          The change to tax rebates for investment is along the right lines, but what is needed is a total change in executive and “investor” mindset about business investment ie. It is something they need to finance and not the taxpayer.

      5. Tron Silver badge

        Inflation.

        If you take your currency down 25% by cutting yourself off from your trading partners, increasing your costs and reducing your access to labour, everyone becomes 25%+ poorer. This is because energy, food, tech, pretty much everything, is traded in USD. So from now on, everything will be much more expensive. Those price increases will not be erased by matching deflation and sterling isn't going to go back up 25%. Inflation may decrease but the damage has been done. The UK has relegated itself.

        And not content with starving the UK of reliable labour once, the Tories are now going to do it again.

        The UK is now the worst developed country on the planet to run any form of business in. If you have the skills, emigrate. Other nations are welcoming migrant labour with open arms to boost their economies. They will embrace you and pay you more. The UK is over for a generation. Possibly for good.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The UK is over for a generation

          True and we know who to blame for that.

          Boris (where's my US passport) Johnson

          AND

          Nigel (where's my beer that you are paying for) Farage

          and all the lies they told us leading up to the 2016 referendum.

          If I could have left then I would have. now it is too late. Another BREXIT Bonus (my ass)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The UK is over for a generation

            Are you staying that your ass staying in the UK because of Brexit is a bonus???

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: The UK is over for a generation

              They were being sarcastic about the bonus.

          2. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: The UK is over for a generation

            Johnson is no longer a US Citizen. He went through the painful (!) process of having his US citizenship revoked. As you can imagine, the US was not pleased, given that they now don't get a slice of his income regardless of whether he is US resident or not. And that turd swanning about in the celebrity jungle right now has second citizenship of another country. They should've declined him that on the basis that he campaigned for 'taking back control' and wanting to cut off the EU.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: The UK is over for a generation

              Born a US citizen, always a US citizen, all that has been revoked is that Johnson doesn’t need to renew his US passport or submit tax returns to the IRS.

              1. anothercynic Silver badge

                Re: The UK is over for a generation

                Umm, no. That's where you're wrong. The US makes is exceptionally difficult to have your citizenship cancelled, but once they do, you can't ever get it back (unlike other countries).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inflation.

          Pretty much every major currency is down against the USD as the fed is desperately trying to keep the US economy afloat at pretty much any cost. Things are ungodly expensive in the US right now.

        3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Inflation.

          The Conservatives have imported four million people in the last 13 years - 3/4m in the last 12 months alone! - the Blair/Brown government only managed to import one million in the same time. If fixing the economy requires importing ever more and more people, then only the Conservatives have the proven record of doing so.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      So...

      The Science Department forgot the cardinal law of Physics.

      Every Action has an equal and opposite Reaction.

      Numpties the lot of them.

      "Yes Minister!"

    3. Dacarlo

      Of course they didn't. Sunackered is in 'Presidential' mode issuing decrees and bleating about how wonderful he is to have slowed the acceleration of prices to merely more than double the maximum.

      The only potential tinfoil lining here is with all this look-at-me posturing he may well be angling for an election sooner rather than later.

  2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Crabs

    meanwhile the average postdoc starting salary is lower than the new threshold at £36,000 ($45,460)

    I know a cleaner who makes more than that.

    This article shows sad crabs in the bucket mentality - instead of fighting for better wages, they are upset foreign colleagues have thresholds set "too high".

    UK science will never grow with such a poor attitude.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Crabs

      Oh I agree this is a pitiful wage for an educated person, but "we" as in the UK has to either find more money to pay better, or drop our expectations to match what we can afford, or look to cheaper supplies (and services are just as much a supply as food or energy).

    2. RPF

      Re: Crabs

      Correct.

      The UK economy as a whole needs to wean itself off cheap labour. Manual farm-labourers, cheap coffee-shops and cheap foreign-sourced scientists or health-care workers are not going to move the UK forward as an advanced economy.

      In this case, home-grown post-doctorate researchers will just have to be paid a fair wage, which is absolutely not a bad thing!

  3. Philip Storry
    Flame

    We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

    Our government appears to be a bunch of spineless, amoral gits who pander to a minority of xenophobes.

    We have major shortages in a number of occupations. Nursing and social care are amongst the hardest hit, but we are hundreds of thousands of people short across the whole of our society. The "hostile environment" drove away talent, especially coming just after Brexit.

    Some people seem to think that knee-jerk reactions and slogans-as-promises show that the government is somehow "respecting the wishes of the people". But that assumes that they have an underlying respect for the British people - which I'd say they don't, as they're not willing to be honest with them.

    You can't stop the boats any more than you can stop the clouds. We have international obligations with regards to asylum seekers. We need immigrants in our society. Each of those statements is true, yet you're more likely to take a working train across the Pennines than you are to hear anyone in our Government acknowledge them.

    We desperately need an adult conversation about immigration in this country.

    They're playing the British people for fools. Sadly, a vocal minority of the British people seem to like it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

      "We need immigrants in our society."

      You mean low paid virtual slaves to perform menial jobs? Wasn't it Kelly Osbourne who commented about who would clean your toilet. The governor of NY state recently commented about how the rural communities of NY state desperately needed people to work in the fields. Reminds me of a historical time when democrat supporters needed people to pick their cotton, tobacco or sugar cane.

      If we can stop with the frothing at the mouth about xenophobes for a moment and look at the real problem. Why do we need to import nurses? Why do we think it is our right to take skilled workers from other countries and use them ourselves? It is also likely that the other country funded this person's education. Do we simply not have the skills in the UK? Are UK workers to lazy? Have we ruined the education system such that you need a degree to be a nurse and then made that hellishly expensive and limited the places?

      We CAN stop the boats and France/Germany/Italy etc. also have the SAME international obligations WRT asylum seekers as we do. They just move them along until they are no-longer a problem.

      Not helped by the NGOs literally ferrying people across the med while the people traffickers get rich.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

        Why do we need to import nurses?

        Money.

        We can't pay them enough to make it attractive in the first place, or to retain many of them. The NHS is already the lion's share of public spending and the only way to improve that is to increase tax revenue. That might be via growth, but recent years have shown anything but, or you raise taxes.

        So many people want better things, but when it comes to voting for any tax raise suddenly it is another story. Sure you get politicians talking bollocks about "cutting the fat" and tabloids talking about waste on managers, or health tourists, etc, but the largest single item of expense is on doctors & nurses salaries (about 1.3 million employed in England).

        (Last I looked "health tourism" was estimated as 0.1-0.3% of NHS cost, i.e. a rounding error in the issues of growing waiting lists and so on, and a fraction of the cost of any system put in place to control it like mandatory ID cards, etc)

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          > Why do we need to import nurses?

          Because to become a nurse in the UK, you need a degree. It's easier, cheaper and quicker to qualify as a nurse in other countries.

          And since UK nurses and junior doctors are not paid enough to recoup the cost of that degree, not many people want to study nursing.

          But fundamentally, if you expel foreign skilled workers, they are gone pretty quickly.. But you can't magic up domestic skilled workers to replace them. You need years to train them up, if you can even attract enough people into the trades. It drives up inflation because the existing domestic workers that there are will demand higher pay, doing less work overall only for those who can afford it. That's why plumbers/builders/electricians/mechanics are so expensive, and why healthcare staff are moving to private healthcare providers.

          1. hoola Silver badge

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            With you until you went off on a tangent.

            The UK did not expel anyone after Brexit.

            Many went home due to Covid and have (unsurprisingly) not returned because they have a better work-life balance in their home country rather than being treated like slaves in the UK. That is a cultural issue where the UK wants all the benefits of high salaries but is not prepared to work and pay for them.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              For EU citizens to be able to stay in the UK after Brexit, you had to register and provide tons of documents.

              If your request was rejected, you had to leave because you became an illegal alien.

            2. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              They didn't *forcibly* expel people, but the process of a) getting work here, and proving you had the right to work here, and b) continuing to work here whilst you as a foreigner were vilified in the press day in and day out certainly persuaded a *lot* of people that the UK was no longer worth it.

              Case in point: The seasonal farm workers that used to come to the UK to harvest whatever we had to harvest, the butchers that used to come over from the continent to slaughter pigs, turkeys and the like that were here temporarily... they all stayed away in recent years. Why (COVID notwithstanding)? Because they needed a visa to get here. And the visa cost money. And they lived in crap conditions, worked for a pittance, and then were unceremoniously told to piss off back to where they came from once their visa would expire. So, they did what anyone else would do... go where no visa was necessary, where the weather was nicer, pay was maybe lower but you were treated better.

              There was a period where the NFU and various other industries had to point out that veg and fruit were left rotting in the fields, that pigs and turkeys had to be destroyed because they couldn't be exported to the EU to be slaughtered elsewhere (because the embarrassment that was the Johnson government decided to cut off our nose to spite our face), and things are *not* improving in that respect! Recruiters in Eastern Europe pointed out that when they were canvassing for folks to come over on a seasonal worker visa, they were told "why would I want to do that? I can go to Spain and get paid better, live better, and take more money home!"

              You see, *we* in the UK might think that those Romanians and Bulgarians and Hungarians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians, the Poles and the Czechs don't read our newspapers and don't listen to what hatred for foreigners our government spews out on a weekly basis, but they do. They follow closely what's happening here. And they voted with their feet. They went to Spain. They went to Portugal and France. They helped out in Germany and Italy. They didn't bother coming to the UK. Why would they? We don't want them! Well, unless of course it's harvesting our veg and fruit and be paid a pittance for it. We gave them the middle finger. They gave us theirs in return.

              And don't kid yourself, the NHS has the same problem. Junior doctors are leaving for Australia and other countries. Why? Because a) their working conditions will be better compared to the UK (actual regular shifts, not the current 'your official shift is X, but you're expected to work beyond that to cover for staff shortages'), and b) they are paid a damn sight better. How do I know? I've seen the ads the Australian government aims at them! "Come to Australia! We'll pay you at least 20% more than what you get in the UK, we'll treat you better, *and* you get nicer weather too!!" they say. Nurses are seeing the same kind of thing happening to them! There are NHS trusts running on fumes staff-wise and regularly declare emergencies, because they either have a toxic work environment and their staff have quit in droves, or they've had a lot of foreign nurses at some point who were all effectively told "there's the door, see ya". Of course, there's also the problem with funding in that the embarrassment that is our current government is 'cutting taxes' by cutting NI and NHS supplements that we pay, and refuse to fund the NHS better.

              I know several postgrads and postdocs (researchers) who've reacted to the latest announcement with "FU UK!" (I'm sure it's quite clear what they mean) - They've studied here, but can't continue their research because their salaries, once just about above the threshold, suddenly no longer are, and that will have to be justified to the Home Office when it comes to their visa renewal.

              This country is on such a self-destructive bender, God only knows what the end game is.

            3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              Plus, the Conservative government has imported more people since 2016 (about 2.8 million) than before (about 1.2 million).

              1. Roj Blake Silver badge

                Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

                It's called "Taking Back Control"

            4. hoola Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              For those arbitrarily downvoting this because it does not align with the "Brexit is the root cause of all the UK woes" please do a little research.

              This is the Government's statistics

              https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-system-statistics-year-ending-june-2023/how-many-people-continue-their-stay-in-the-uk-or-apply-to-stay-permanently#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20a,latest%20quarterly%20EUSS%20statistical%20release.

              https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-system-statistics-year-ending-june-2023/how-many-people-continue-their-stay-in-the-uk-or-apply-to-stay-permanently

              There was a dip after 2020 but Covid skewed everything. Why where there also shortages of lower paid workers in other EU countries as well? Transport was particularly badly hit because many Eastern European drivers chose to work in their home country, not living out of the cab of a lorry driving all over Europe, regardless of whether that included coming to the UK.

              I do not dispute there is more paperwork required but if we are unable to operate without importing millions of people as cheap labour then there is something seriously wrong. The original post was about people being expelled after Brexit, that is completely untrue.

              There is a cultural issue where the UK wants all the benefits of high salaries but is not prepared to accept the cost of that. If we want cheap food/cleaners etc then it needs cheap labour. If you have to import cheap labour to provide those services on the cheap because nobody in the UK is prepared to do those jobs for the pay then there is a serious issue. Net migration is at an all time high yet we still do not have enough people to do the work that UK workers do not want to do (or refuse to do).

              I do not agree with outcome of Brexit but far too many use it as an excuse for all sorts of other issues.

          2. Shardik

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            > And since UK nurses and junior doctors are not paid enough to recoup the cost of that degree, not many people want to study nursing.

            My daughter completed her Nursing degree earlier this year.

            Throughout, she received 450/month bursary, she also had her fees paid throughout the 3 year degree and has walked straight into a full-time job with the NHS.

            In contrast my other daughter did an unrelated degree over 3 years, came out with a First, is 38k in student loan debt and still hunting for employment a year on.

            I have no experience or knowledge of the process for Doctors, but please tell me how this is stopping people wanting to do Nursing?

            (I will not deny that the job is not one I would want, intense, terrible shifts, long hours, physically demanding, under appreciated and under paid (long-term) but the cost of the degree is not a factor for nursing)

          3. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            >” But you can't magic up domestic skilled workers to replace them. You need years to train them up, if you can even attract enough people into the trades”

            A problem (with respect to nurses and other groups) that can be traced back to Thatcher era Conservative thinking and policy. Which in turn is based on thinking that imported doctors from India and bus drivers et al from the West Indies…

            We and our parents (UK residents) created this wholly predictable mess…

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              That was happening long before Thatch came to power. The UK was importing doctors in the 60s.

          4. herman Silver badge

            Robot nurses

            Where are the AI nurse robots?

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          >” We can't pay them enough to make it attractive in the first place, or to retain many of them.”

          This is the worlds 6th largest economy - as measured by nominal GDP we are talking about…

      2. Philip Storry

        Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

        Who said anything about low pay being necessary?

        As to training for nurses, yes, that's been a problem for a long time. We even had a point where the government removed bursaries for training nurses, therefore expecting them to take out student loans that they could never repay on a nurses' wages.

        But this is all part of that adult conversation that we need. If we want more native nurses, we have to pay to train them. We have to make the working environment for nurses an attractive one. We may need to pay nurses more to do that. Right now, when we look at the funding for training, it would be reasonable to assume that the government's strategy is to import nurses. Unfortunately, at the same time they also stir the xenophobic pot to see if there are any votes left in it. It's hardly a well thought out and consistent position to take.

        You say that we should stop frothing at the mouth about xenophobes, but they are part of the problem. If we have the likes of Suella Braverman signalling to the far right that they should feel safe and secure when looking for a fight at the Cenotaph, then we have to assume that xenophobes will disrupt adult conversations about immigration with their blatant nonsense. At which point the conversation inevitably becomes pointless.

        I'm not in favour of "import cheap labour". I'm also not in favour of shirking our obligations. Nor am I in favour of demonising people arriving in our society for the failings of a government that wasn't even "theirs" when the bad decisions were taken.

        There won't be a solution that pleases everybody. But right now, we don't even have a workable solution, yet alone one that pleases everybody, so even small steps would be welcome.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          "We have to make the working environment for nurses an attractive one"

          Sadly the main aspects of working as a nurse are shitty hours (sick people don't stop being sick in the evenings or weekends) and cleaning up messes the sick people make. I have the upmost respect for the profession as it is not something I could do and they were very helpful when I had a kidney stone and was either bent double in pain or chucking my guts up. The doctors on the other hand... never saw the same doc twice, no handover as I was shuffled from ward to ward and eventually I had to get grumpy with the registrar and ask for the results of the tests done some 15hrs earlier by a previous doc and no-one had looked at.

          The NHS, like the immigration system, needs a total overhaul. It is to the point where a rip-up and start again is needed as the rot of decades of mismanagement, bullshit targets and the typical British middle management heavy organisations is likely impossible to remove.

          France, Germany, Italy etc DO have obligations. As most of the asylum seekers speak English it is easier for them to move them on to us. France certainly has its own issues as it still has the remnants of empire. I will happily admit that we are a primary reason these people are fleeing their countries as we helped turn them into war-torn shitholes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            >France, Germany, Italy etc DO have obligations. As most of the asylum seekers speak English it is easier for them to move them on to us. France certainly has its own issues as it still has the remnants of empire. I will happily admit that we are a primary reason these people are fleeing their countries as we helped turn them into war-torn shitholes.

            A reminder that both France (115k) and Germany (217k) take more asylum seekers than UK (89k). As do Spain (118k) and Austria (109k), with Italy (75k) a little behind UK (2022 figures)

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              I was going to point this out... The continent is doing a damn sight more than we are when it comes to asylum seekers. And we then try our utmost, thanks to the xenophobes and populists in government, to kill off any legal avenues for seeking asylum, effectively making the situation worse, not better. The only reason why 'illegal' migration has shot up is because we've failed to deal with our obligations as we're expected to. It's easy to point fingers and claim that "those illegal migrants are at fault", when it's actually this embarrassment of a government fails to either help those who helped us (in Afghanistan) or fails to help those who have relatives here and who would integrate here and become taxpaying residents.

      3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

        Why do we need to import nurses?

        We don't, but thanks to many loopholes it's a great business for agencies. They can keep wages too low to live decently on and then claim they can't find people, so they get HO to bend over and send as many cheap workers as they want. Some even say that workers from 3rd world countries are used to basic life and even minimum wage in the UK will be a luxury for them. Which is kind of racist, but that is the thinking in the corrupt government.

        Are UK workers to lazy?

        They have some self respect and they don't want to work for peanuts and getting the rich richer at their expense.

        Do we simply not have the skills in the UK?

        This is another issue that is coming from the above. Why should anyone invest in education if government let businesses import skilled workers below "market rates". Did you know that big consultancy can get a web developer at only £21k per year? Would you go to Uni and learn web development to be paid this much?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          We've been in a race to the bottom for a good few decades.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            We are experiencing much higher gravitational pull from said bottom now.

            There was a period where you could import IT developers from 3rd world countries paying them their local wages plus small allowance for food etc, but EU eventually stopped that.

            Some big and known companies had sites of those IT people living in barracks or purpose built "hostels", bussed every morning to work and then dumped back to the site in the evening.

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          It's not that UK workers don't want to work for peanuts, they CAN'T AFFORD to work for peanuts. There's no "want" in it at all.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

      "Nursing and social care are amongst the hardest hit, but we are hundreds of thousands of people short across the whole of our society. "

      Do you believe that that information was only known last week. Why has the Government not been actively pushing for it's own citizens to become better educated.. No one needs foreign nationals more than they need their own unless it is a far more sinister reasoning - ie cheap labour..

      You don't suddenly need hundreds of thousands of people, it's something that can be managed well in advance.

      I was in hospital last week and the nurses explained to me that the average length of stay is around five years, due to poor wages and difficult working conditions, many then leave or join the private sector. I don't see how bringing in immigrants changes that situation.

      1. Philip Storry

        Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

        And that's part of the adult conversation we need to have. As I said to another commenter, we can't underfund training and the NHS and not expect it to be seen as effectively having a policy of importing nurses. But until we can admit that, we cannot then look at how we might want to change our immigration system to better entice and support those people we are trying to attract.

        Alternatively, if we decide that we want native nurses, then we need to better fund training and better fund the workplace (the NHS).

        I'm not really going to say which one is better - to be honest I feel like I sit in the odd space where I have some facts but know I'm missing many, so I feel any decision I took would be ill informed.

        But I won't be better informed without that adult conversation I was talking about. And neither will most other people.

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          And if you pay nurses more, they will spend more in the local economy - which leads to higher growth.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            We already pay nurses more, but good % of that money is taken by the agency and then shifted offshore. The problem is that NHS can't hire those nurses directly at higher wages.

    3. pmb00cs

      Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

      The "hostile environment" was started by then Home Secretary Theresa May before the Brexit referendum happened.

      Yes we need to have a grown up conversation about immigration, but "immigration good, anti-immigration racist" is a simplistic view that ignores why so much of the world is looking at increasingly right wing politicians as a viable option for their respective governments.

      One of the problems with large scale immigration is that it suppresses wages, especially for low paid jobs. A policy change, such as the one proposed, of a higher minimum pay threshold for immigrant workers, might actually help with that issue.

      A major part of the issue this particular government face is that they have been playing the simplistic slogans for so long they can't announce anything that takes nuance into account, so their announcements have to also end up being simplistic. That's where the boats thing comes from, they want to claim to be stopping immigration, but can't stop economic immigration for fear of tanking the economy so have been slowly erroding safe routes for asylum seekers, who are a tiny fraction of immigration anyway, because it has been easy for them to crow about while not actually doing anything meaningful for so long they've stuck them selves in a corner, asylum seekers are still coming, despite it not being safe, because they running from something worse than the trip, so now the government are having to actually try and fix the problem they've let fester for so long the solution they propose is going to cause pain elsewhere. We need people to do the jobs that need doing. We can solve that with immigrants, or we can train people to do them domestically, but the training will take time, and potential trainees will need to see a reasonable incentive to go through the training and do the job. Years of stagnating wages in a highly skilled profession does not look like much of an incentive to me.

    4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

      We have major shortages in a number of occupations. Nursing and social care are amongst the hardest hit, but we are hundreds of thousands of people short across the whole of our society. The "hostile environment" drove away talent, especially coming just after Brexit.

      I think you take too shallow view on the issue. The "shortage" we have is artificial and is caused by unregulated agencies who have great influence on the people in charge. Nobody in their right mind is going to do this work for minimum wage, but agencies are often getting paid £50-100 (sometimes even more) per hour per social care worker and they hire as close to minimum wage as they can and if they can't find anyone desperate enough the wail about the "shortages", while pocketing massive profits. Government bends over and provides a stream of immigrants ready to be exploited and we all pay for this - we get poorer service, more expensive and additionally we have more strain on all public services, housing and so on. All so that fat cats running to social care sector get richer.

      This system is inherently broken and if you advocate for immigration in that sector, you are part of the problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

        The agencies mean that the NHS have less staff on their books, which is good for them as that is an overhead. Just like the machine that goes ping. Lease it back from the company you sold it to so it is on the monthly and not capital expenditure.

        But this is only one aspect of the waste in the NHS. A BBC story a couple of months back indicated it costs the NHS nearly £2000 to extract a tooth from a child. A private dentist will usually do a sedated extraction for under £500 AND will see you within weeks, if not days, rather than 12+ months.

        I'm not advocating for a fully private system, the US healthcare system is enough of a warning on that one!

        1. abend0c4 Silver badge

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          a private dentist will usually do a sedated extraction for under £500

          Make sure you're comparing like with like. Since 2001, all general anaesthetics must be administered in a hospital with an ITU owing to the number of deaths that were occurring in the chair so NHS costs will be skewed accordingly compared with sedation.

          Also, the reason that many children need extractions is that they're not getting basic dental care in the first place. That's penny wise and pound foolish.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            https://www.bbc.com/news/health-66095984

            "Some of these children will need extractions under general anaesthetic in hospital."

            I'm aware that an extraction under general is much more complex but the simple fact is kids should not wait YEARS for treatment.

            Basic dental hygiene starts with parents and keeping kids away from crappy high sugar and acidic foods/drinks. You can visit the dentist frequently and still have crap teeth.

            1. hoola Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              Equally why do we have so many children (and adults) generally in such poor health?

              Lifestyle....

              Is is as simple as that.

              1. tiggity Silver badge

                Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

                It's not that simple, wealth (or more importantly lack of) plays a big part in health.

                In the UK a (sadly) large correlation between wealth and lifespan.

                In general cheap food is unhealthy food (you can get a very filling amount of "junk" food & drink for the cost of a small amount of fruit and veg).

                So, the poorest often eat badly due to that factor of not having much disposable income for food*

                When you are fairly skint, you will often "treat" yourself more (just as a brief glimmer of joy in a shit life) - treats tend to be unhealthy - bag of crisps rather than an apple, beer instead of a smoothie etc.)

                As for exercise - Going to the gym needs a decent amount of income and the "free time" (as do various sports - the free exercise options are limited & dull - 5 a side with your mates costs more but is a lot more fun than going for a solo jog (& more likely you will keep up 5 a side)) - so again low / no wage makes exercise harder (free time can be a big issue, one of my friends has 3 zero hours contracts*, a lot of hours working per week (plus PITA of unpaid travel to the workplaces) and so she has little free time for exercise.

                * Finding a single guaranteed hours "unskilled"** job in this area is difficult, hence the 3 contracts and lots of commuting time "waste".

                ** IMHO, cleaning jobs etc. are not unskilled - I'm awful at such tasks & fully aware I would be **** at such a job (what I think is a clean & tidy room my partner regards as more resembling a disease ridden tip)

        2. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          Ask yourself why there is an NHS dentist shortage... Because the NHS (well, the government, who set the contracts through the DfH) wants to pay them a pittance to do work, and they're not willing to.

          But that said, there is a lot to be said about basic healthcare that should be taught from home and from primary school (or preschool) onwards, but at the same time, if you are on the bread line and can barely afford to keep the heat on, would you rather spend 2 quid on food for your child, or 2 quid on toothpaste? And there is a large segment of people on either minimum wage or just above it who have to make those judgment calls on a weekly (if not daily) basis.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            If you're really that stressed for money, you don't need to use toothpaste, just brushing is enough for basic dental hygeine.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              £2 toothbrush then.

              Actually, a child's toothbrush lasts about half a tube of kids toothpaste so the toothbrush is the more expensive part!

            2. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              But that's not what everyone's being taught (by ads or by instructions from dentists). Everyone assumes that everyone can afford the basics. As we've seen, that's definitely not the case (with food banks asking that it's not just food that is donated, but also basic hygiene essentials like nappies, soap and toothpastes/toothbrushes).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

            "But that said, there is a lot to be said about basic healthcare that should be taught from home and from primary school"

            Why this constant reliance on someone else to teach your kids basic life skills?

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              If you're minimum wage, you will have to work every hour possible to get vaguely close to making ends meet.

              Not to mention the massive amount of paperwork involved in claiming the in-work benefits. That's a part-time job in itself.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

                Ah the great money-go-round.

                Personally all subsidies should be scrapped. We have this very strange notion that somehow the price of a loaf of bread and a pint of milk are the most important things in the world. So we artificially keep them low which results in farmers/producers being unable to make an actual living so we have to give them money from taxes AND pay a huge department of people to administer this.

                Tesco et al know they can underpay as someone else will top up the rest.

                Same with these in work benefits. Firms don't have to pay as they know the govt will top up the difference.

                The reality being that all this topping up is costing everyone FAR more than just paying the right amount in the first place. Something like 2/3rds of tax money never comes back out of the govt.

                1. anothercynic Silver badge

                  Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

                  If you think that taking the benefits away will induce the likes of Tesco to pay their staff better, think again.

                  Up the minimum wage to a level that takes into account the benefits needed to live reasonably *and* remove the appropriate benefits, and only then *might* you see Tesco et al shift position. Although, knowing how senior/executive management in the UK thinks/acts, they still wouldn't shift position because their shareholders will demand they continue to pay generous dividends and cut costs (which in turn spirals down to less staff, or more price depression on the supplier end).

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

                    Of course it won't stop the likes of Tesco underpaying. They've become far too reliant on cheap overseas or govt subsidised staffing. Along with cheap imports of food from far off places.

                    Just like in the US there are jobs in the UK done by people who are not known to the authorities, do not pay tax, do not get any form of legal protection and are only a tiny step up from slaves. Be this on farms, building sites or in rich households.

                    These big companies go to the govt with a sob story about job losses and suddenly the money comes flowing. BAE being one of the worst.

            2. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

              You seem to have overlooked the words "taught from home..."

              While I agree with you that basic life skills have to come from the parents too, it sometimes is simply not the case. Either the *parents* don't even have these basic skills because *their parents* didn't teach them, or they've fallen into that trap of "yeah, the school'll teach 'em". That in turn leads to teachers being in a virtually impossible situation where they are expected to teach kids things, but all too often the parents then go in and say "why are *you* teaching my kid(s) this, that's not your job" when others expect them to do exactly that... Change has moved so fast that knowledge is simply not passed on between generations.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

                Sad but true. We are in a culture of 'its someone else's problem'. Stories of kids going to primary school still in nappies as they are not toilet trained are just crazy. There will be kids with medical problems but not all of them.

    5. hoola Silver badge

      Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

      Equally one has to ask the questions as to why it is so difficult to train and recruit our own population to do those jobs?

      Why is it that these roles can only be filled by importing the workforce?

      Allegedly the population is more educated than ever yet we still appear unable to fill "skilled" roles.

      Could it be that the education is not fit for purpose?

      Take nursing: the has been this obsession that nurses must have degrees and the associated debt to attain them. What was wrong with the former nursing colleges that worked so well until political interference?

      The country is also seriously lacking in STEM subjects as well because they are "difficult". There is a lack of teachers and as you move into university courses are being axed due to lack of students and costs.

      Business & Management schools are cheap to run and make money., You just need a lecture theatre and stack of online PowerPoint. You can teach 500 for the same cost as 100. Now compare that to science. Labs and facilities immediately put a cap on numbers. Take medical schools, they are hugely expensive to run and do not actually "make" money.

      Now add in all those who should never have been anywhere near a university because a practical training was more appropriate. Those courses are pretty much buried because it is perceived they do not have the value of a degree. That we have tradespeople earning far more than many of the output from a university shows just who stupid that view is.

      University was pushed as some magical solution to education by Labour. It was then commercialised so that instead of being a place of learning for those with the appropriate ability university became a business.

      That may start to change as some realise the £60k of debt to then earn bugger all is not worth it but we are now in the cycle where the people in the system are the offspring of parent's of the same system. University is seen as a rite of passage to a some elusive job market even though 80% of those being spewed out of the sausage machine are not capable of that type of job.

      Having worked at a university I have seen this at first hand. The only winners are the Student Loans Company and the businesses masquerading as university's.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

        >Equally one has to ask the questions as to why it is so difficult to train and recruit our own population to do those jobs?

        For "educated" workers (including health care), the government limits the number of available places in university each year, insists that staff require training to take certain roles, then has fewer people studying than are needed to fill all the vacancies. The best time to rectify this was probably 10 years ago - when austerity measures saw reductions in the number of places available. The next best time to rectify it is now - but it will take 2-3 years to open extra university places and a decade to get qualified and experienced doctors or dentists. So until then, we either have to get used to longer waiting lists and acknowledge that some of our friends and relatives will die young due to treatment failures or import young workers from overseas to fill the void.

        But they want to be able to use it as a political football rather than fix the problems.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          The actual best time was when Blair thought it would be a good idea for half the population to have degrees and burdened graduates with student loans to finance that. The next best time has been ever since.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

        The root of this seems to have been Blair's notion that half the population had to go to university irrespective of whether vocational courses would have been better, This was far too expensive so student grants were replaced with student loans which doesn't really seem to relieve the public purse of the burden, at least in the short term, and burdens the student with debt. At the same time it raises the employment requirement to degree level where it was otherwise unnecessary and the two combined ensure that many youngsters, unwilling to take on the debt, are shut out of careers that they could have taken up a generation or so ago. OTOH we have a lot of graduates with degrees of no interest to employers.

        It looked like a stupid idea at the time and has fulfilled that promise.

      3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

        Why is it that these roles can only be filled by importing the workforce?

        Because loopholes, for instance agencies are exempt from IR35, so they can make profit on "renting" their employees and their business is to find them as cheaply as possible.

        So NHS pays good money to get nurses in, but these nurses are paid poorly. Massive difference is pocketed by the agency.

        So if NHS pays £2500 per nurse's shift. They may get a nurse that is paid close to minimum wage and barely speaking any English.

        Now. If we didn't have IR35, the nurses could sell their services independently making massive saving for the NHS - due to more competition and independent contractors having less overheads.

        Ideal solution would be to free NHS from pointless pay bands that do not reflect the reality and let NHS use market rates and hire workers directly.

        Could it be that the education is not fit for purpose?

        Education is fine, but due to the above - why would anyone undertake expensive studies if they never make any sensible money?

        This applies to any profession that can be conducted on a freelance basis.

        1. Michael

          Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

          Or the NHS could just have its own agency and only allow shifts to be allocated via it. No external agencies allowed. Retain all money.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Our government appears to be a bunch of spineless, amoral gits ...

      Given the removal of all those lovely election pledges from the Labor Party website this past week,

      DO NOT EXPECT A STARMER Gubbermint to be any different, they might be worse.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Our government appears to be a bunch of spineless, amoral gits ...

        It's basically impossible for them to be worse.

        Though be aware that the Tories are spending their final 2-3 years in office setting traps for the next government while extracting everything they can for their post-election jobs.

        One suspects you can figure out the exact date of the next election by looking at when ministers resign their post.

    7. herman Silver badge

      Re: We are overdue an adult conversation about immigration

      What happened to the industrial revolution? The UK needs to mechanize and stop indentured servitude.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Just the sort of joined up thinking needed to achieve "a science and technology superpower by 2030.".

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      The government is on track to achieve this by releasing radio active spiders into secondary schools and murdering the parents of any billionaires

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      British immigration rules have not worked well since their failure in 1066.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        They worked pretty well from 1939 to 1945 though.

        1. GreenJimll

          Um, wasn't some of that period when the phrase "Over paid, over sexed and over here" was coined?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Also in 1588 and the early C19th.

      2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        55 BCE is the real failure.

        1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Silver badge

          But what about the roads?

          OK, that argument would've worked better if we'd bothered to do any maintenance to them in the intervening 2000 years

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >55 BCE is the real failure.

          Really? He came, he saw, he immediately fucked off and they didn't come back for 100 years

    3. Jason Hindle

      Just the sort of joined-up thinking needed to achieve "a world-class science and technology superpower by 2030.". FTFY.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the old rules

    "You can be paid 70% of your job’s usual going rate if you’ll be working in a postdoctoral position in certain science or higher education roles" (gov.uk)

    Whoopee! We're due a 43% pay rise then!

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: the old rules

      >” about 61 percent of postdoctoral researchers are non-UK nationals”

      Looks like many here have missed this point.

      It would seem to suggest UK universities haven’t learnt the lesson of the 1980s; the brain drain is still in full flow, as can’t see US universities now paying less than the UK.

      It also raises a question about what the real benefits of having so many non-UK national researchers (and their families) in the UK on low wages and thus are more likely to also be claiming benefits et al.

      I also question the mindset of the Universities, as it would seem they have been submitting research funding bids with insufficient allowance for staff costs. When I submitted bids (okay way back now) for EU funding, whilst the staff costs had to be at “cost” ( ie. We could not directly profit from the funding), the funding did not prohibit us from paying full market rates to those engaged to deliver the R&D project.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have to pay imports more then won't they. Or hire Brits.

  7. Old Tom

    Appeasement?

    "that the re-joining of the Horizon program was intended to appease"

    No, re-joining Horizon was always the plan, it was in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. There was a massive gap simply because the Commission unilaterally delayed as leverage in the status of Northern Ireland,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Appeasement?

      "it was in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement."

      Was that the agreement the Lying Shagger and his clown parade of bozos ignored?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Appeasement?

        No this was what the EU ignored.

        1. Random person

          Re: Appeasement?

          Why has participation been delayed?

          > The House of Commons library on why entry into Horizon was delayed because of problems with Northern Ireland Protocol.

          >

          > Why has participation been delayed?

          >

          > The declaration agreed alongside the TCA stated that the protocols on participation would be adopted by the Specialised Committee “at the earliest opportunity to allow their implementation as soon as possible”.

          >

          > The EU adopted its long term budget in December 2020 and the legislation for the programmes in April and May 2021.

          >

          > Meetings of the various governance bodies for the TCA were initially delayed because the agreement was not fully applied by the UK and EU until 1 May. Although most have since met, the Specialised Committee for EU programmes has yet to do so.

          >

          > The European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Mariya Gabriel has suggested that other wider political issues between the UK and EU would need to be settled before UK association to EU programmes could be formalised. She referred specifically to differences over UK implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.

          >

          > UK exclusion from the Horizon Europe programme is among options reportedly being considered by the EU as retaliation if the UK uses the Article 16 provision to suspend aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol. It was reported in October 2021 that France was also seeking to link the granting of fishing licenses to approval of UK involvement in EU programmes.

          https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/is-the-uk-still-participating-in-eu-programmes/

  8. scrubber

    Wrong people complaining

    Pay them more!

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    You know this immigration policy does work...

    ... if your aim is to only have Britons taking up lower paying jobs and foreigners getting the higher paid jobs...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You know this immigration policy does work...

      Doesn't work like that though. Being able to bring in foreigners at lower wages keeps wages low for Brits. So the going rate to be able to undercut Brits just went up.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: You know this immigration policy does work...

        Does this mean lower-paid NHS roles and social care wages are going to go up to £38K?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: You know this immigration policy does work...

      About time!

      UK middle management are far too greedy and lazy, with WFH etc. there is no need for the manager to actually be in the office or UK, so can use cheaper and expendable foreign workers, leaving more in the pot for the executives and “investors”…

      The laugh is Tom Peters back in the 1980s, from his observations, had sussed how little (positive) value executives actually contributed to a typical Fortune 100 business. In my decades of consulting, I found the 80:20 rule (which businesses like to apply to customers) helpful in identifying which board members actually contributed, those who were out of their depth passengers, and those who were adding negative value…

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: You know this immigration policy does work...

        I hope you are typing this on a British phone and not taking advantage of cheap foreign workers to get cheap shiny toys

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. imanidiot Silver badge

    Am I missing something?

    "I hope the prime minister is aware that salaries of postdoctoral researchers have reached such a low level in this country that this law would make it impossible for UK scientists to employ international experts"

    So isn't this new legislation all the more reason to employ those international experts with a proper salary ABOVE the minimum? I'm not seeing the problem. PhDs and PostDocs are often underpaid and exploited as is.

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