Daily Mail’s junk report claims Bank of England chief blamed migrants for low wages

The Telegraph joins in to selectively quote Mark Carney - and distort what he really said



The Daily Mail reports that Bank of England governor Mark Carney has made an ‘explosive intervention’ and said ‘foreign workers drag down UK wages’.

The paper’s front page story then quotes Migration Watch who say migration figures just released by the Office for National Statistics explain why wages are not rising.

Strangely, the story only quotes a few words from Carney itself. Or perhaps not so strangely, since it completely distorts his position.

The Telegraph runs with the same story, but quotes a bit more from Carney:

“He said: “In recent years labour supply has expanded significantly owing to higher participation rates among older workers, a greater willingness to work longer hours and strong population growth, partly driven by higher net migration.

“These positive labour supply shocks have contained wage growth in the face of robust employment growth. Wages have grown by around 2 per cent in the past year – less than half the average rate before the global financial crisis – and a key risk is that these subdued growth rates continue.”

Why these papers chose to focus on immigration and not more older workers, people working longer hours, or the other reasons for population growth, I can’t possibly imagine.

When you trace this quote back to the Bank of England report though, the picture changes. Here’s the very next line from Carney:

“Such strong growth in labour supply is unlikely to be sustained. Going forward, growth in the UK economy’s potential will increasingly depend on productivity.”

So the image of an ever-increasing wave of foreigners stealing our jobs and driving down wages is based on labour supply growth with more than one cause and which is ‘unlikely to be sustained’. How peculiar the Telegraph stopped before this line!

But what was that about productivity? Carney spoke on the BBC Today programme this morning and repeated this explanation for low wage growth and low productivity.

When asked if cheap foreign labour was the reason productivity is low, Carney said: ‘Well, I would really dampen down that explanation.’

He said the combined total of additional older workers and extra work via more hours over the last two years amounts to the equivalent of 500,000 more workers. Meanwhile, he said, ‘the increase in net migration over that same period, the last two years is 50,000.’

He added that foreign workers were usually overqualified for low-skilled work and quickly move into higher-skilled jobs, adding that they actually boost productivity.


Efforts by the Mail and the Telegraph to enlist the Bank of England governor into their campaign to reduce immigration lead them to distort what he actually said and thinks.

These stories come as the government seeks to avoid having to take in more migrants, after the European Commission suggested quotas for member countries to save migrants from drowning at sea. This in turn is part of the prime minister’s new get-tough approach with the EU, cheered on by the Tory press.

It’s relevant then to note that Carney today called the EU ‘the largest investor in the United Kingdom’ and ‘the largest economy in the world’.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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10 Responses to “Daily Mail’s junk report claims Bank of England chief blamed migrants for low wages”

  1. snorx

    Carney conceded that economic growth is at the expense of productivity. Low inflation? Not in the price of land. 7 years cuts in real wages & shared lived experience didn’t translate into anti Tory votes for Labour whose leadership contenders spar over whether Labour was reckless in public spending- no it was their failure to regulate the financial sector > bank bailouts > £175 billion additional money aka QE. Carney could have shown other “positive” labour supply factors- how the perpetual crisis was used to drive down wages- split-shifts, zero hours, diminished conditions, punishing whistle-blowers. We re-run the Poor Laws – but we can’t expect public works schemes so much as HS2, and another f*cking runway for London.


    They don’t!
    Our government keeps minimum wages at a deliberately unnacceptable level so as to have a method of keeping all young people in a cycle of being robbed by both sides!
    We are giving them a third of our wages, which are not enough to live on already, so they can give it to pensioners who don’t even live here!
    There should be a higher minimum wage for people who don’t recieve pensions or own a house!

  3. Rick

    The data clearly supports the Daily Mail story.

    Uncontrolled immigration has kept British workers pay down.

    Uncontrolled immigration has also increased the demand for housing forcing prices up.

    Uncontrolled immigration has increased the demand for our NHS resources making access more difficult for British people who have paid for it.

  4. damon

    I heard the financial expert who is on LBC radio in the mornings say that yes, it was true.
    Over supply of Labour in the labour market had not only kept down wages, but was preventing their rise right now, which is what the economy is requiring to kick on into a better recovery.
    He explained it in quite a bit of detail.

    So maybe Left Foot Forward is worse than the Daily Mail for spinning stories.

  5. Xaider

    If the Government put the wages up a fair amount, there would be a job crisis as people would suddenly stop taking advantage of hiring unskilled masses on low wages.

    You lefties can’t have it both ways. You either shoot yourself and the working class in the foot and sacrafice living standards, or you pay the price worth paying for everyone to live a better life.

  6. Davyire

    Strange, it seems, that a leftist media website should defend the words of a capitalist like Mark Carney!?!?!?

  7. IreneCAbrahamson

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    No-one is getting a better life!
    You right-wing morons just can’t use logic or think clearly!
    If you pay higher wages, then people spend more money, which is good for the economy and all businesses and all investments!
    Low wages hurt everyone, that is why we have to have food banks and benefits, because people are not earning enough to survive, that is why the economy is ruined!

  9. Vally

    And as he said, there would be an unemployment job crisis.


    That is utter nonsense!
    Jobs still need doing, it is to everyone’s benefit that everyone is payed properly!
    There is no mechanism where by increasing wages decreases employment.
    That is just propoganda for idiots!

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