Migrant Workers and Public Services

Letter sent to the South Wales Evening Post today:

Sir,

S.E Price (Have Your Say, Saturday 13 March) is wrong to blame asylum seekers and migrants for the problems with public services in the UK.

The reason why our housing, NHS, benefits and educational systems are under such pressure is the result of years of underfunding and mismanagement by successive governments.

For years our governments have prioritised the needs of business and bankers, and fighting foreign wars; and favoured grandiose schemes over essential services and decent social housing. Public services have been systematically starved of the necessary funding, or privatised in order to export benefit from the public to the private purse.

Migrants have not created, or even added to these problems. Many of them have come to the UK to fill recruitment gaps in the services that S.E Price highlights.

Those who do work in these services pay Council Tax, Income Tax and National Insurance, just like anyone else. Research by The Independent in 2006 revealed that immigrants pay, on average, more in tax than non-migrant workers, thus contributing more than their fair share to the British economy.

The majority of migrants come here to support our services, and often enrich our culture with new energy and new ideas. And asylum seekers have enough problems as it is without being blamed for all the ills of our society.

Keith M Ross
Green Party Candidate, Swansea West

For the text of S.E Price’s letter:

Title: Many questions on immigration

I was very perturbed to read that Swansea may be soon granted City of Sanctuary Status.

I am not an uncaring person and help must be given to those fleeing persecution, but what happens to our overstretched services if we have a huge influx of asylum seekers and migrants along with, I assume, their dependents?

I realise some migrants have made an important contribution to our society, but the Labour Government allowed too many in and, I expect, are now trying to disperse them as adequately as possible.

Migrants and asylum seekers have already added pressure to our housing, NHS, benefits and educational systems. Who will pay for all this? Swansea Council Tax is about to become one of the highest in Wales. Is this why? Or is this to encourage migrants to vote for the politicians who allowed them to settle?

There are many questions to be answered here and immigration is high on any party’s political agenda. I feel this has done nothing to increase the popularity of city councillors.

S.E Price
Mayals
Swansea

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Keith,
    Thanks for posting this. I think it is also important to clarify with the general public that becoming a City of Sanctuary doesn’t mean more people coming to Swansea – since most people seeking sanctuary have no choice about what city they live in. It is about becoming a safer and more welcoming city for the people who live there, which ultimately benefits everyone.
    Thanks for all your good work,
    Craig Barnett

    Reply

  2. Posted by Andrew Smith on March 28, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Nobody is denying the fact that we have a legal and moral obligation to offer vulnerable asylum seekers succour; however, even UNHCR has stated that the UK takes in a disproportionately large amount of immigrants compared to other UK countries, and not only has this undermined social cohesion in some communities, but has also put a strain on hard-pressed local resources such as housing and schooling. On an environmental level, high levels of immigration require more public housing, which means more building on green-belt land (the ONS suggest that we may have to build 200 new homes a day for the next 20 years, if the current levels of immigration continue). Furthermore, an increase in immigrants resident in the UK requires more electricity generation, and therefore more carbon immersions. More people resident in the country leads to more consumerism, with goods needed to be shipped, mainly via road, from one part of the country to another, therefore again increasing carbon emissions

    This is not a diatribe or polemic against immigrants; we simply live in a small, highly-populated country, and our EU partners must clearly adhere to their responsibilities of taking an appropriate level of asylum seekers, rather than ignoring their commitments…

    Reply

  3. Posted by Andrew Smith on April 2, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Thankyou Huw;

    Most unfortunate that as an intellectual heavy-weight of Swansea Green Party, you cannot realise that ‘immersion’ is an obvious typographical error for ’emission’, and an error on my part.

    Reply

    • Thanks Andrew,

      I apologise for that comment and I do see your point, the current government has failed miserably to address the issue. We do have policies that would cut down on consumerism and shipping via roads by building stronger local communities that can be more self sufficient. The green new deal sets out an agenda for renewable energy and free insulation for all households that would create thousands of sustainable jobs. I do feel that social cohesion has been declining steadily for years and other factors such as longer working hours, longer commuting distances, closures of local pubs, second homes that lay empty as holiday homes and many other things contribute to this.

      Huw

      Reply

  4. Posted by Andrew Smith on April 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Apology accepted Huw! 🙂

    Reply

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