Bottleneck: Britain has seen an influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe
More than half a million British-born employees have vanished from the UK workforce since the influx of Eastern European immigrants.
Official figures reveal the number has dropped by 523,000 in just three years. At the same time, the number of migrants from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia has leapt by 343,000.
According to the Office Of National Statistics (ONS), 24.47million workers born in this country were employed in 2004 - the year those states joined the European Union. At that point, the number of workers from Eastern Europe was 74,000. By this year, the UK-born workforce numbered 23.95million, while those from Eastern Europe in employment was 417,000.
Critics say the number of Eastern European workers makes a mockery of Gordon Brown's pledge to create British jobs for British workers.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "With more than one million economically inactive under-25s in this country, the legacy of his open-door immigration policy is clear for all to see."
James Clappison, the Tory MP who uncovered the figures, said the number of people arriving from outside the EU should be capped. He said: "At the same time as the unprecedented influx from Eastern Europe, the Government is continuing to issue record numbers of work permits to non-EU workers."
Experts admitted the fall in British-born workers was, in part, due to an ageing population but said the defining reason was Labour's relaxed immigration policies. Other ONS figures last week revealed that a growing number of Eastern Europeans are also claiming benefits. Nearly 80,000 have been approved for child-benefit payments and 45,000 are to receive tax credits.
Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: "Over the next 12 months we're making the biggest-ever changes to the immigration system, including a points system, single border force and compulsory ID cards. We'll strike the balance between business and our wider national interests."