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Oh dear! Barry Hughes claims that the National Institute of Economic and Social Research saying immigrants work harder is a fine example of spin in action (Letters, 17 March). What it actually said in November 2013 was they work longer hours – one of the major attractions of immigrants to employers is getting them to do overtime at normal rates rather than any sort of overtime banding, on top of paying them less than their native-born counterparts to begin with. 

It’s part and parcel of the old insanity of using immigration as a short-term quick fix, using foreigners as little more than beasts of burden to boost “competitiveness” and hope it will encourage new “entrepreneurs” (read “sharks”) to create jobs. For one, if other countries are doing the same you’re no more competitive than they are; for two, those immigrants in time retire, get sick, etc. and become part and parcel of that so-called “burden on the State” – UCL studies show that immigrants from the 1980s, by the 1990s were paying in only 85p for every £1 of services they consume. 

Little wonder that a House of Lords Select committee on economic affairs in 2008 concluded gloomily that there was no evidence immigration had ­significant economic benefits – it merely boosts GDP but not the acid test of GDP per capita. If we want to get Britain back on its feet, it’s going to take more than the same old discredited quick fixes. 

Mark Boyle

Linn Park Gardens,