The European Union should consider introducing an EU-wide minimum wage to reduce the incentive for people to immigrate to Britain, Jeremy Corbyn has suggested.
The Labour leader today made his first speech of the EU referendum campaign, arguing that there was a “strong socialist case” for staying in the bloc.
But Mr Corbyn accepted that there were concerns about the impact of migration on the UK – and said changes to wage laws could help reduce perceived pressures.
The Labour leader said an EU-wide minimum wage could be tied to the cost of living in each EU member state, which would provide a “level playing field” for British workers.
“I don't think too many [migrants] have come, I think the issue has to be of wages and regulations,” he said when asked.
“There has to be a case for a minimum wage tied to the cost of living across the continent.
“There is nothing wrong with people wanting to migrate to work around the continent, but there has to be a level playing field on pay and conditions.”
Such a proposal would likely not see the same cash minimum wage across all countries – but instead see the wages match as a proportion of the cost of living.
Labour appears to be slowly putting together a policy platform with regards to reforming the European Union. Last year shadow home secretary Andy Burnham suggested that areas that experienced high levels of migration should get extra cash from the EU to help expand services to meet any extra demand.
David Cameron, by contrast, has focused on restricting welfare benefits for people who come to work in Britain from other EU member states.
Mr Corbyn’s call comes a day after a report from the Migration Observatory suggested that higher wages was the main reason people from other EU states came to Britain – with very little evidence that the welfare system was a pull factor.
The report says the eurozone crisis has also led to six countries – Poland, Romania, Spain, Italy, Hungary and Portugal – accounting for 80 per cent of the increase in EU migrants living in Britain in recent years.
Britain will vote in a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union on 23 June this year.
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