London News & Search
New evidence of the key role that East Europeans play in Britain’s economy was revealed today — as official figures showed large numbers working in key sectors including manufacturing, hospitality and public services.
The Office for National Statistics said that 6.7 per cent of all people working in UK manufacturing, equivalent to 185,000 employees, were from Poland or the seven other East European countries that joined the EU in 2004.
Some 225,000 are in jobs in hotels, restaurants or distribution, while just over 83,000 work in health, education or public administration.
The statisticians disclosed that 1.3 million people born in the eight East European countries — Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia — are now living in the UK. The vast majority, 813,000, are Polish.
The figures came as a new dispute over EU citizens’ future rights in the UK broke out, with the European Parliament’s lead negotiator criticising as “inadequate” proposals by Theresa May that will allow EU citizens living here to remain after Brexit.
Guy Verhofstadt claimed that the Prime Minister’s plan was a “damp squib” and threatened to treat EU citizens here as “second-class citizens”. Ministers insisted that the attack misunderstood the Government’s proposals and that EU citizens would be treated equally after Brexit.
Today’s report will add to the debate about the importance of retaining EU workers. It shows that East Europeans make up 25 per cent of the food manufacturing workforce as well as 2.4 per cent of those working in residential care. They also fill 1.2 per cent of all jobs in “human health”.
There is also a low “dependency ratio” among East Europeans with 3.9 people of working age for every child or pensioner — more than double the equivalent ratio of 1.8 for Britons. That suggests that East Europeans are less likely to be a drain on public finances.
However, they are more likely to work in lower paid “elementary” occupations than professional or managerial jobs, which generate more tax.
London News & Search