London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that it is 'no wonder' that young Britons are being outcompeted for jobs by immigrants who come to the UK from eastern Europe. Mr Johnson says that eastern Europeans are better educated than Britons and more industrious.
Mr Johnson said that it was 'economically illiterate' to blame the immigrants for getting jobs or for 'getting up early and working hard and being polite and helpful'.
Writing in UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson tells his readers that he was cycling to work 'the other day' when he met a recruitment consultant called Katie. The woman recruited staff for restaurants in London. Mr Johnson says that he asked Katie what percentage of the posts that she filled was taken by British workers. Katie told Mr Johnson that only about 10% of jobs went to British-born workers.
She told him, he said 'It's the schools, I think. They teach the kids that they can earn all this money but they don't explain that they will have to work hard. The people I recruit have a different work ethic'.
Without immigrants there would be 'fewer restaurants' in LondonMr Johnson also argues against the notion that the jobs taken by foreign workers would be taken by UK workers if the foreign workers were excluded from the UK labour market. He says that, instead, it is likely that, if the jobs were not filled by foreign workers 'the chances are there would be fewer restaurants, since the costs would be higher and the service less good and the reputation of London as the world capital of posh tucker (haute cuisine) would be less exalted than it is today'.
Mr Johnson blames the former Labour government of the UK for allowing the UK's schools to deteriorate. He says that about 25% of UK school children leave primary school unable to read, write or do basic maths and this means that UK school leavers will lose out to 'industrious people from eastern Europe who can take down a telephone message correctly.'
Mr Johnson says that the Labour government did not reform the school system and instead used immigration to fill the skilled roles that ill-educated Britons could no longer perform. He says that the current government must reform the education system to enable British workers to do the jobs in future that they cannot do today.
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