22 Oct 2013

Immigration: anger misplaced

Update 27.11.13  Jean Lambert MEP - see her press release here.

Here is a letter Philip Booth has written to the local press:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’ve been disturbed recently that many are blaming immigration for our problems. Some politicians and media have been trying to 'out-Farage' each other on immigration.

The problems are real, but it is not immigration that is the problem. We have a chronic lack of affordable housing, yet only 10% of new migrants move into social housing. One in five of our young people are unemployed, but only one in ten new jobs go to migrants. Immigrants are half as likely to claim working-age benefits than those born in the UK. The European Commission, not known for picking fights with member nations, has accused Home Secretary Theresa May of inventing the problem of 'welfare tourism' without providing any proof that it exists.

Yes, immigrants use schools, health services and houses - but that is not the whole story. Recent OECD research has shown that immigrants contribute £7billion more in taxes than they cost in services. Without immigrants we would either have to pay more taxes or suffer additional cuts to our services. Immigrants both help our economy and enrich the social, scientific and cultural life of our country.

Some politicians blame immigrants for this financial crisis, rather than their friends in the City of London who caused it. Yes we should be angry, but not at immigration. We should be angry that successive governments haven't ensured enough social housing. Angry that the billions spent on needless NHS reorganisation and privatisation is putting intolerable pressures on our health services.  Angry that tax breaks are given to wealthy executives while cuts are made to social care that vulnerable people rely on.

The Green Party seek a fairer society. This includes treating immigrants with respect, not as economic pawns, but people like us with families, with friends, with feelings.

Cllr Philip Booth,
Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward (Green Party),

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