Having, I believe, lost the economic argument, the Leave support is grasping at immigration and its alleged effect on jobs as its last straw.
The north east has the highest unemployment in the country, and has had for decades; it also has the lowest level of immigration, apart from Northern Ireland.
The south east, meanwhile, has the lowest unemployment and the second highest immigration – more than eight times the level here.
There is no correlation.
Migrants certainly take jobs, but they also create more demand in the economy, and therefore more jobs.
The result is growth, an expanded tax base (estimated at £2bn a year) and more money for public services.
If we are not investing the extra wisely, that is our fault.
Though some individuals are affected by competition for jobs, multiple studies have found the effects of immigration on the economy as a whole to be beneficial, with no substantial impact on employment or wages.
What I believe Leave’s plans will do is damage the north east economy by ending free access to the single market of 500m customers for our all-important exporters, while depriving more prosperous regions of the labour that is helping them grow.
Secretary (North East)
European Movement UK