Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 97 - 99)



  Q97  Chairman: Good morning and welcome to this inquiry on globalisation. Our apologies for being a little bit late, but it was quite a fascinating discourse that we had with Mr Wolf. Can I ask you to introduce yourselves for the shorthand writer, please?

  Mr Clark: I am Nick Clark. I am a policy officer in the General Secretary's department at the PCS.

  Mr Dubbins: I am Simon Dubbins, Director of International from Amicus.

  Mr Exell: Richard Exell, Senior Policy Officer at the Trades Union Congress.

  Q98  Chairman: You do not all need to answer every question because we are looking to finish at about 12 o'clock. Can I maybe start by talking about the issue of winners and losers. Do you think globalisation is inevitable, and what are the most  important threats and opportunities from globalisation?

  Mr Exell: I think perhaps I should take a lead on that question as it is the central theme of our written comments. Globalisation is not inevitable, but the current prices of communications make it a very likely continuing theme of the world economy. One of our clear conclusions has been that there are hundreds of thousands of British jobs that depend upon international trade and investment, so globalisation has a positive side as well as a negative side. There are workers who lose out as well as workers who gain from it. Overall, the balance is positive, so it ought to be possible for those of us who gain, either through cheaper goods that we are buying in the shops or through increased opportunities for the firms we work for, to pay to compensate the people who are at risk of losing. At the moment that is not being done on a fair basis. We could not claim really that Jobseekers Allowance, for instance, for people who lose their jobs is a fair form of provision. We do think that if we are going to avoid calls for protectionism in this country, we do need a widely-accepted system of compensation for people who lose out.

  Q99  Mr Mudie: Pricewaterhouse reckon that low and medium-skilled workers in tradeable sectors would lose low and medium-skilled workers in non-tradeable sectors open to migrant labour and also mass-market manufacturers. That seems a fair number of people and a very vulnerable set of people set to lose?

  Mr Exell: You can see my theory might indicate that. There is not much evidence though to show that is happening as a general pattern of events; there are specific instances. There are specific manufacturing companies, in particular, where you can point to workers who have plainly lost their jobs   because of international competition or outsourcing, but the evidence does not really, and should not, show that has been the norm.

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