The UK outside of the Single Market is clearly not an attractive location within which to site Vodafone’s new European Research and Development facility.
Much is made of the end of Freedom of Movement making it harder to import labour into the UK whether we are talking about an HGV driver or a veterinarian.
The same difficulty arises with assembling teams, drawn from across Europe, for research and development.
Why would, for example, a hi-tech company locate themselves in the UK and restrict themselves to the talent pool of a single country when in the Single Market they may trawl a sea of 31 countries?
And if you are a talented individual in the UK looking for a job in research then the opportunities are going to be greater and more varied in the Single Market.
The brain drain much dramatised in fiction and talked about in reality in the 1960s is back in 2021.
And where brains go so did production in 1963 …
And in 2021, Pat Gelsinger, the boss of Intel told the BBC that the US chipmaker is no longer considering building a factory in the UK because of Brexit. He said that before the UK left the European Union, the country “would have been a site that we would have considered”.
“Vodafone has chosen Malaga as the home for its European research and development centre for new technological solutions and next generation digital services, which will lead to the creation of more than 600 jobs on the Costa del Sol.
The British telecommunications giant had organised an international competition between January and March to decide in which European city it would establish its new R&D centre.
Seven cities from five European countries participated in the contest, and they had to respond to an extensive questionnaire that focused on lifestyle, the availability of talent with the necessary technical skills, working conditions, transport systems, public aid and grants, university connections and the attractiveness of each location to job-seekers.
After an exhaustive analysis of the candidate cities and multiple meetings with international companies active in these cities, Vodafone selected Malaga as the host of its new ‘hub’.
“The Andalusian city was the one that stood out in the competition for being the one that offers the best combination of all the selection criteria,” the company pointed out.
Colman Deegan, CEO of Vodafone España, said: “This European Vodafone Business Centre is a great opportunity for the city of Malaga, not only because of the highly qualified employment it will generate, but also because it will enhance the activity of the city and the digital ecosystem that has been developed in recent years. The Vodafone hub will help Spain and Malaga continue to be a national and international benchmark in attracting and promoting business projects and creating products and services based on innovation and new technologies.”
Both the president of the Junta de Andalucía and the mayor of Malaga have been quick to comment on the good news for the city, which can boast of being on a roll when it comes to attracting technological investments. Google, Dekra, TDK and Globant have recently announced new research and development centres in the city.
The Junta’s head, Juanma Moreno, tweeted “Great news! Malaga will host the Vodafone European R&D Centre of Excellence. I have spoken to their CEO Colman Deegan, and they will create 600 highly skilled jobs. Thanks for the confidence!”
Malaga’s mayor, Francisco de la Torre, also celebrated Vodafone’s commitment to the city, which in the midst of the pandemic “once again it shows that Malaga’s innovative ecosystem is capable of continuing to attract investment and talent.” “
The growing labour and skill shortages across the economy of the United Kingdom are fundamentally down to the explosion of the UK’s demographic time bomb.
The UK has an ageing population with an ageing, shrinking, domestic workforce with, just as importantly, an ageing, shrinking, domestic business owning class.
More people are retiring from the UK labour market at one end than are entering it at the other.
Freedom of Movement mostly defused the UK’s demographic time bomb.
Boris Johnson’s Hard Brexit, freely endorsed by Keir Starmer’s Labour, armed the bomb and it has now exploded.
Over a decade ago, civil servants as lowly as Executive Officers in the Department for Work and Pensions, like myself, were briefing Jobcentre colleagues and external partners across the country about the consequences for the UK labour market of the bomb exploding.
We spoke in Birmingham and Solihull of matters like recruitment, retention, returners and (mid life) career switchers in the context of an ageing workforce.
We had a particular interest in encouraging men to consider a career in childcare wherein back then only 2% of employees were male.
We contrasted that figure with the 8% of Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers who were female.
As an aside, one of the chaps working in childcare in Birmingham had lost his job at Rover in 2005. And he was much happier in his new career than he had ever been in any previous job in his life.
When he had left school, men from his class background were expected to go to work in a factory and, in his case get a job on the track at a car plant.
Just over 12 years ago, as a DWP official, I sat in a meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here in Birmingham with colleagues and National Health Service Human Resources staff.
We were told by one of the NHS staff present that nationally they had estimated they would need to recruit one in two of all school leavers at 16 just to maintain their head count.
Today, we have 100,000 unfilled vacancies in the NHS.
I am inclined to snigger when a Johnson or a Starmer talks about not just filling those vacancies, but expanding the total number of staff employed in health and social care in the UK.
“Nearly half (48 per cent) of advertised consultant posts across the UK were left vacant last year (2020) – up from 36 per cent in 2013. Half of the unfilled posts were due to nobody applying for them and a third were down to a lack of suitable candidates.”
You cannot train up, say, a UK based HGV driver workforce in the longer term (in competition, by the way, with every other sector of UK economy facing growing labour and skill shortages) when the people you want to train up in UK were not born in UK 20, 30, 40 … years ago.
And, it takes a minimum of nine months and eighteen years in the UK to bring a raw labour unit to the market.
Alternatively, the population of the UK accepts a poorer standard of living for the foreseeable future and that might include some having to work longer than now, if the UK Government increases the State Retirement Age as one response to the explosion of the UK’s demographic time bomb.
Unsurprisingly, this was an aspect of Brexit that the Leave Campaign avoided mentioning during their campaign in 2016, although I guess cakeism sort of covered it then and up until last December.
We were once promised all the benefits of the Single Market, even when we were out of the club.
Freedom of Movement in a labour market made up of 32 states now 31, with us outside, worked to mostly defuse the UK’s demographic time bomb.
Ending Freedom of Movement mostly created the labour and skill shortages the UK economy is now facing.
There was a straw in the wind as to what might happen.
Despite Farage’s, McCluskey’s and Corbyn’s claims to the contrary, Eastern European building workers did not drive down pay, terms and conditions in UK construction.
If one is unable to fill that job for any length of time then one’s business will suffer and that might lead to the laying off of staff and possibly, in an extreme case, going out of business with all that entails for suppliers and those reliant on a business for employment and income.
“The loss is not just … jobs and lost growth but reduced corporate and individual taxes going to government. Skills. Knowledge. The jobs and turnover in company suppliers and service providers. The innovations. The lunches and the after work beers putting money into small businesses locally.”
The key policy solution was migration and, courtesy of the Single Market a relatively hassle free process of moving between countries for work and to set up or take over an existing business.
The negative consequences of a Hard Brexit and, specifically, the end of Freedom of Movement on business formation and ownership in the UK have yet to really surface in the debate.
Some UK businesses are seeing a downturn in sales revenue as completing the paperwork required of a company based in a third country, trading with customers in the Single Market takes time away from making money.
Others companies may well close, because a business model designed for being in the Single Market and Customs Union may not be adapted to the new reality of being outside of both.
And, courtesy of the demographic time bomb, some businesses will cease trading, because their ageing and/or infirm owners cannot be asked to bother with dealing with all the new forms etc, particularly after having had to cope with the stress of preparing for two No Deal Brexits and coping with Covid.
It is a fairly standard storyline in Endeavour or Midsomer Murders, the older generation bemoaning that their offspring are not interested in taking over the family business.
In 2021, it is not unusual to find that those offspring were never born.
And in 2021, there are also fewer migrants to whom one might sell one’s firm than was the case a few years ago.
Freedom of Movement provided migrants who were able to buy businesses off UK company owners, retiring from business for one reason or another. Migrants also set up new businesses in the UK.
How many migrants who set up new enterprises or bought existing ones in the UK, courtesy of Freedom of Movement, will now remain in the UK and, if they decide to leave to whom will they sell their businesses?
Some businesses are taking on new staff to handle the paperwork required to continue trading with customers in the Single Market. These jobs are unremunerative in that they have been created to just try and maintain sales not increase them. They eat into the bottom line, reducing a company’s profits.
The key stakeholders back in the 2000s knew that migration was the most significant answer to the demographic time bomb and still do.
However, I do detect a degree of panic, even a few displays of cognitive dissonance, amongst some informed people as to the consequences of admitting where things are going whilst Priti Patel remains Home Secretary.
Her unique selling point in any future Tory leadership race in which she may choose to take part will be her stance on (im)migration.
The obvious and only major practical policy solution has to be a replication of Freedom of Movement and, in particular, the ability to put down roots in the UK so as to live and work here and not just be treated as unwelcome, but necessary guest workers, brought in as and when with Cinderella style work visas.
The approach the Government is adopting towards issuing emergency three month visas will only make working in the UK attractive to the desperate for work; the not especially competent and those unaware of the toxic environment that has been created in the UK since 2016 not just for migrants and immigrants, but BAME folk born and brought up here, too.
Beggars, of course, cannot be choosers so recruitment standards may have to drop, if all the visas the Government is planning to make available are to be used by employers between now and midnight on 24th December.
Patel will not wear any resurrection of Freedom of Movement and neither will Labour, according to Rachel Reeves, who, incidentally has crafted in her policy of buy, make and sell more in Britain (to boost British exports!) a wheeze almost guaranteed, if enacted to drive a further wedge between the UK and the EU as well as antagonise the USA and most other trading nations around the world.
Priti Patel’s policy of growing our own domestic workforce does not, incidentally, extend to the UK’s armed forces.
When will the dictatorship of the dwindling number of hardcore Leave voting, Britain (really England) First fanatics end, given it has to date, survived two General Elections since 2016?
When will Conservative and Labour politicians speak truth unto what now amounts in 2021 to a minority of the electorate?
The demand for labour in the UK exceeds its domestic supply.
Increasing pay may move people around the labour market, but it will still leave the overall number of vacancies, unfilled.
There are not enough of us of working age, who were born in the UK, to look after the ageing of the UK, who were born in the UK, and do all the other necessary things to keep our society and the economy of the UK functioning.
Each of us in society, giving according to both our abilities and means and receiving according to our needs.
“During the train journeys on his summer tour through Blackpool, Swindon and Glasgow, Sir Keir Starmer began jotting down notes about what he heard from voters and his own thoughts about politics.
With help from aides, he turned these into a 13,000-word essay that seeks to set the foundations of his leadership, before his first in-person speech to a Labour conference next week.
The thesis, published by the Fabian Society, specifies ten broad principles that Starmer says would drive his government, ranging from putting “hard-working families and their priorities first” to “restoring honesty, decency and transparency in public life”.”
“Our country is now at a crossroads. Down one path is the same old insecurity and lack of opportunity. But down the Labour one is something better: a society built on everyone’s contribution, with high-quality services, security and opportunity.
In this pamphlet, Labour leader Keir Starmer MP sets out his vision of a fairer, more secure and prosperous Britain, built on Labour values. He proposes 10 principles for a new contract between Labour and the British people, which together make up an ambitious plan to remake our country.”
The Ten Commandments
1. We will always put hard-working families and their priorities first.
What is a hard-working family in 2021?
For example, in the United Kingdom in 2020, it was estimated that 7,898,000 lived in one person households out of the total number of households of 27,792,000.
Early in 2021, Starmer gave a speech on family values, a few hours later, a staffer was sent out to say he had not just meant Mom and Dad, whose marriage had been consecrated in church, and the 2.4 children.
This Commandment needs rethinking from first principles.
“A third of the Tory vote is over the age of 65. Given we’re an ageing country, we simply cannot win unless we improve this position.”
“Thirty five of the seats where the Tory majority over Labour is under 7,000 have a higher than average number of pensioners. Winning back at least a portion of the ‘silver vote’ is mission critical to winning an election and aiming at 45%.”
Dragooning people into doing things communally, particularly through peer pressure, is rather unBritish.
“But here it is worth noting a minor English trait which is extremely well marked though not often commented on, and that is a love of flowers. This is one of the first things that one notices when one reaches England from abroad, especially if one is coming from southern Europe. Does it not contradict the English indifference to the arts? Not really, because it is found in people who have no aesthetic feelings whatever …”
“What it does link up with, however, is another English characteristic which is so much a part of us that we barely notice it, and that is the addiction to hobbies and spare-time occupations, the privateness of English life. We are a nation of flower-lovers, but also a nation of stamp-collectors, pigeon-fanciers, amateur carpenters, coupon-snippers, darts-players, crossword-puzzle fans. All the culture that is most truly native centres round things which even when they are communal are not official – the pub, the football match, the back garden, the fireside and the ‘nice cup of tea’. The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century. But this has nothing to do with economic liberty, the right to exploit others for profit. It is the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above. The most hateful of all names in an English ear is Nosey Parker. It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a lost cause. Like all other modern people, the English are in process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated’. But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.”
I understand the desire to reject jingoism, in all its forms, which by its very nature, is exclusive, divisive and unwelcoming, but there are surely better ways to phrase it than that which has been chosen.
“… patriotism matters, but I’m afraid we don’t get to define its basics. These are: pride in our country; support for the armed forces; being strong on law and order. The progressive view of patriotism will never be the same as the conservative one. We will add an emphasis on values of tolerance, equality and a commitment to social justice. But the basics can’t be absent.”
Aneurin Bevan once observed, “Righteous people terrify me … Virtue is its own punishment.”
Starmer’s little list is not exactly uplifting in the context of the cheeky chappy who currently leads the Conservative Party.
All work and no play makes Keir a dull boy (or a mail order clothes catalogue model).
Let Starmer be Starmer and God help us all, if he really is as boring and uninteresting as his essay would suggest.
Yet, a sober suited, hard working, serious Knight of the Realm, a loving father and husband should appeal to the One Nation Conservatives and other voters whom Johnson repels with his very character (or lack of it).
Labour, meanwhile, had the worst by-election result in the party’s history, with 622 votes.
Off to the seaside …
Why, though, the need for Starmer to step off the train in Brighton, Ten Commandments in hand, when Labour already has Clause IV, agreed democratically by the party’s membership?
Take it away, Tony …
“The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.“
“Priti Patel said she wanted to borrow the TARDIS and send a handpicked army of procreators into the UK’s past, 20, 30, 40 … years ago to procreate like crazy to address the UK’s demographic time bomb at source.”