Annual review of the ending of free movement in the United Kingdom

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art, Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art 2:00 pm, 5th March 2019

The hon. Lady is obviously a top feminist, because she identifies probably the single biggest reason why the care sector is low paid. The work done by women has traditionally, for reasons of structural power, been paid much worse than similar jobs that have traditionally been done by men, and that helps to make my point. If we want to increase the pay of women in the social care sector, a good way to go about it would be to encourage those women to join a trade union, so that they can enforce their rights, bargain for better pay and increase their dignity and their control over their workplace. I argue that a restriction on free movement is, at best, not the most effective way to support those women. None the less, it would be interesting to learn, and the Government ought to take responsibility for finding out.

In support of my new clause, I would like the Government to consider not just the impact on our labour market of the policy of ending freedom of movement, but the huge impact that the policy will have on UK nationals—we barely discuss the restriction of fundamental rights, freedoms and abilities that ending free movement will entail—and on some large and, in many cases, fast-growing sectors in our economy.

In the tourism industry, for example, many British workers spend time working in a different country to develop their skills, perhaps before they run their own tourism business or come back to work in the UK. Many such opportunities could be curtailed, and it would be a dereliction of duty for the Government to ignore the fact that that will be a consequence of the policy.

Arts, culture, film, music and sport are all areas in which the UK has traditionally excelled, and I hope it will do in future. They are multibillion-pound industries, and the impact on them of ending free movement will be huge. If we think about the orchestra in the city region that I represent in Merseyside—or the fine Hallé orchestra in the city of Manchester, which you represent, Mr Stringer—the impact of the ending of free movement on those orchestral musicians will be absolutely profound.

We are offering those industries a future immigration policy that is unclear at this point, and yet their ability to move around and work on the continent of Europe is mission critical to them in their great work of producing fantastic music—the best in the world, some would say, in the case of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. I simply cannot countenance the idea of the Government taking that step without thinking that they ought to report on it.