Circling the drain
The UK economy is spiralling downwards...
The recent announcement by the UK government that foreign people who want to work here need to earn a lot more money than previously sits on top of an economy that is failing in almost every area.
'Under the new rules, which are said to come into effect at some point next spring, the amount people must be earning to bring a family member or partner from abroad to the UK will increase to £38,700 from the current £18,700 minimum income requirement.' Source.
In effect this will seriously limit the number of people who would want to work in the UK because so many of the jobs they do are (a long way) below the new limit. Care workers in particular will not come and this is an area that is severely lacking in numbers currently. With an ageing population that is comparatively higher than many other countries it feels like the care industry in particular will be hit hard in the short term.
However, the real problem is much worse when you look a little deeper.
We have a lack of workers in the UK for a variety of reasons, but one is poor health. With a waiting list of +6 million people waiting for hospital treatment this is taking many people out of the workforce and forcing many more to work fewer hours.
To resolve this you need them to get better and for this to happen more health workers are needed. As the hostile environment grows and the limitations to employment for foreign workers increase, we will see fewer coming and the problems in the NHS growing, which in turn will cause the waiting list to grow even more.
Health care salaries are low and the requirements for entry, for UK workers, are high and so we will continue to not have enough people to help those who are sick which will only increase the need for more social security payments and thus we have a further hit on an already weakened economy.
Throw in the fact that 3,320 of the 62,300 nurseries and childminders for under-fives in England have shut their doors in the past year alone, leaving 17,800 fewer childcare places available, parents will not be able to afford care for their kids and could subsequently be unable to work (more social security payments) and the list of available workers diminishes even further.
If you need to bring workers in, which is the other option by changing the harsh policies we have currently, we would need to build many more houses. To do this we would need more people from abroad who currently do not earn enough to work here and if they did earn enough we would need even more houses. It's catch 22 everywhere I look.
Zero hours contracts are rife and offer no stability, worker's rights are eroding far too quickly and it feels as though the government is almost trying to push people to claim benefits and not work, while simultaneously limiting what people can claim.
Throw in public services that are failing in every area (police, councils, water, prisons etc etc) and the country will soon not be one that foreign workers want to work in anyway. And so the population ages further, the health problems grow and where do we end up? It's incredibly scary.
I know I am sounding awfully negative, but this continual feeling of a lack of hope in the people who run my country feels more stark every single day, and even when this dreadful government is replaced, it will take a decade at least to try to turn things around.