Ok RRW, that was a decent post.
However, I would argue that your post was framed by a perspective that migration is “a problem”.
When we talk about refugees and migrants being a drain on our services we ought to recognise that the refugees were the product of western foreign policy mistakes in the middle east and that the UK was a major contributor to the turmoil in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. In terms of numbers of refugees in the UK the UNHCR says:
“Does the UK have more asylum seekers than most countries?
No it does not. In the 12 months prior to June 2018, the UK received 27,044 applications from main applicants, a 1% decrease from the previous year. Over the same period, there have been wider falls in asylum applications to other EU countries (down 32%).
This is considerably less than the number of applications received in many other countries, and makes the UK sixth out of the EU’s 28 member states in terms of asylum applications. In the year ending June 2018 Germany received the highest number of applications (168,000), followed by France (108,200), Italy (101,900), Greece (57,900) and Spain (37,300). World-wide around 85% of all refugees are hosted in developing countries not in wealthy industrialised countries.
(Source: Home Office)”
As you will see, depite being the world’s 5th biggest economy, the UK’s contribution to providing asssistance has been poor in comparison to other EU countries. Even under the Dubs amendment, which mandated HMG to assist child refugees with relatives in the UK in having their cases assessed, we have seen little concerted effort, only foot-dragging by government agencies.
Although you won’t appreciate this, I think we would be right to consider whether this is an example of institutional racism springing from the same mindset as the Windrush affair. Theresa “Red line” May is a common factor.
The above account only reinforces concerns about institutional racism at the Home Office.
You will also note that refugees are barred from working and receive very small amounts of money in terms of benefits. I suppose that this is intended as a punative disincentive to claiming asylum in the UK. In my view it is plain stupid when these people could be working for their living and contributing to the Treasury and our national prosperity.
When we look at migrant workers, it was interesting that last week’s economic impact assessments specifically commented on the economic impact that a reduction in the availability of migrant workers would have. Of course, it was a negative impact. Migrants contribute more to the exchequer than they take out in benefits and services. Not that you would have got this impression from reading the Mail and the Express during the referendum. In the eastern and south eastern rural heartlands of Brexit I doubt very much that people were being deprived of access to their GPs because of pressure from migrant and refugee demand. However, I have no doubt at all that HMG was simply pocketing migrant taxes rather than using them to support public services. That’s Tory austerity for you.
As for housing, the biggest problem in the UK is that house prices are out of reach of very many people. I doubt very much that migrants and refugees have been bidding up house prices but I am pretty certain that Right to Buy and the prohibition of local authority spending on house building has had a big impact.
The big elephant in the room that Brexiters are not facing is the demographic change that is taking place in the UK in which so many of them are playing a personal role. This is the aging of our society and the rotation of workers into pensioners which has reduced the proportion of the population available for work. The big increase in pensioners is increasing demand for health and social care services which has to be staffed. I doubt whether migrants are complaining that they can’t get a place in a care home because of the queue jumping by pensioners. No, the migrants are the ones doing a lot of the care that is so needed.
We have technical full employment at the moment and there are insufficient UK nationals available to fulfill our need for labour. There is no getting away from this, whether it is to pick strawberries or to wipe old people’s bums or to work the NHS or in the City we cannot survive without flexible, top up labour. Brexiter xenophobes are going to be sorely disappointed and will feel misled and betrayed. Honesty woukd have been the best policy and our political leaders should have told the truth about our need for migrant labour and how it benefits us. Our economy needs migrants and we need to have to labour and a prosperous economy to support our ageing population.
I hope I have addressed some of your points RRW.
Frog in a tree