One of the rules of economics I learned fifty years ago was the relationship between Supply, Demand and Price. It seems that Iain Martin has forgotten what he was also taught in his desperate scramble to find a Brexit Benefit. One of the reasons that Margaret Thatcher was a great supporter of Free Trade was that she knew that if you increase Supply competition will lead to lower prices and better products. This rule applies to all the Factors of Production, including Labour.
The artificial restriction of Labour supply caused by Brexit is having a devastating effect on labour availability and costs. And on quality. Making it easier to become an HGV driver is a quality reduction and irresponsibly unsafe.
The way to ensure that workers have higher disposable incomes is not to close labour availability but to raise the minimum wage and to reduce taxation. And to rethink what “employment” should be. Proper jobs with proper contracts and proper worker representation and collective bargaining.
All economies have unique characteristics where skills, social priorities and restraints are concerned. The larger the labour pool the greater is the employer choice. Immigration widened that choice and furthered growth both new workers from the Commonwealth and Europeans using their Freedom of Movement rights contributed to national wealth.
There is almost a nineteenth century mercantilist feel to Brexit Britain – certainly as far as labour is concerned. Who would have thought that a country that once lead the world on Free Trade would become a closed society, denying itself labour choice ?
To argue that restriction on labour availability is beneficial you have to argue that thirty countries across Europe participating in Freedom of Movement (including some like Switzerland and Norway not in the EU) are wrong. And Little England is right. Ha !