Cameron Predicts Influx of Irish Jobseekers after Economic Crisis; Britain Could Suffer If [Pounds Sterling]77bn Bailout Fails to Rescue Euro Zone Neighbour

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

Cameron Predicts Influx of Irish Jobseekers after Economic Crisis; Britain Could Suffer If [Pounds Sterling]77bn Bailout Fails to Rescue Euro Zone Neighbour


Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

DAVID CAMERON has warned of a "huge" influx of Irish job seekers to Britain if the financial meltdown in the Republic cannot be stopped.

The Prime Minister raised the prospect of thousands of migrants flooding over the border, putting strain on unemployment blackspots in the UK.

"We have to ask the question, what would the consequence be for Britain... if the Irish economy failed," he said. "There is an enormous migration takes place between Britain and Ireland. If the Irish economy collapsed, that would have a huge impact on Irish people coming to the UK for work."

As Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen faced growing calls to quit over his country's [pounds sterling]77 billion bail-out by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, Mr Cameron also highlighted the "big effect" on British banks if Irish counterparts went under. RBS and Lloyds have outstanding loans to Irish banks of [pounds sterling]50 billion and [pounds sterling]27 billion.

"So for all these reasons, there is a great connection between Britain and Ireland -- and that's why it's right we should stand ready to help the Irish economy."

Britain will be less generous towards Portugal and Spain if they need financial bail-outs, George Osborne has ruled. The Chancellor has decided there will be no repeat of the voluntary bilateral loan offered to Ireland which is expected to be worth several billion pounds out of the total UK assistance of [pounds sterling]7 billion or more.

It means that if the debt crisis spreads to other euro zone countries, British help will be limited to contributions made to honour agreements with the EU and the IMF.

Banking shares took a hammering yesterday after Ireland finally admitted it needed the vast rescue package, pitching the Republic into political turmoil and pressure for an early general election.

Although many Tory MPs are furious at having to rescue countries that use the single currency, Mr Osborne is bound by a deal signed by former chancellor Alistair Darling a few days before leaving office. …

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