Nowhere has the subject of the EU referendum become more toxic than on the subject of immigration. Both Remain and Leave are at fault.
#FactCheck: Net UK migration from EU countries at 184,000 a year
#FactCheck: Net UK migration from non-EU countries at 188,000 a year
#FactCheck: Total net UK migration (EU + non-EU & Brits) to the UK is running at over 300,000 a year
#FactCheck: As a condition of membership of the Single Market all EU citizens have the right to live and work in any other member state
#FactCheck: UK govt has full control over immigration rules from non-EU countries (i.e. the rest of the World) into the UK
#FactCheck: According to HM Revenue & Customs, recently arrived European Economic Area (EEA – the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) nationals (UK immigrants) paid £3.1bn in income tax and national insurance in 2013/2014. They took out £0.56bn in HMRC benefits.
Whenever talking about any issue and the effects of immigration ask yourself these 2 questions:
- How does immigration cause or add to that issue?
- How many immigrants do you know who cause or add to that issue?
Cameron in leading Remain has failed to properly engage on immigration because he has patently failed in his promise to cut net migration to tens of thousands http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/6961675/David-Cameron-net-immigration-will-be-capped-at-tens-of-thousands.html.
Cameron has failed to do this on EU migration and he has failed to do this on non-EU migration (i.e. the rest of the World). These are promises that he and the Tory party, i.e. all those MPs on Remain & Leave (Osborne, Gove, Johnson, Grayling, Duncan Smith, etc) sold to the UK electorate twice.
Did they know they couldn’t cut it to tens of thousands? Given how dependent we are on immigration on income receipts, staffing vital services such as the NHS & teaching, it’s difficult to imagine why & how they didn’t know…
Also, the Tory party prior to 2010 & 2015 elections continually made claims that only they could be trusted to be tough on immigration and that EU nationals were a drain on the British benefits system (not true: How much do immigrants really claim in benefits?).
It’s not surprising that the UK electorate is divided and confused over immigration when the party it has elected twice keeps flip-flopping on its position EU migrants on benefits: separating the statistics from the spin.
But let’s not just blame Cameron and the Tory party; Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, etc have been equally poor in discussing immigration and have allowed people like Nigel Farage & UKIP to take control and become thought leaders. They have completely failed to engage with communities who believe that immigrants are to blame for there not being enough houses or school places or hospital appointments or jobs for people who are born in the UK.
How did we to a place where it is adjudged that all the shortages in our society are the fault of immigrants? I, like many of my friends, are British born but have parents who are immigrants. They were not a drain on the UK, they worked here, they paid into society and, arguably, they made it a better, more inclusive, place.
It is the responsibility of any UK govt to ensure that:
– the nation is adequately defended (Army, Navy, Airforce, Border Police)
– the nation has sufficient school places to educate its populace
– the NHS is adequately funded & staffed
– there are enough Police & Fire service staff to protect & serve
– there is sufficient housing
– there are adequate paying jobs
All the above have been cut or under-invested by the past 2 Tory-led or Tory majority govts. How are immigrants to blame for any of those ideological cuts? How about cutting taxes for the rich or cutting the staffing levels of HMRC (the agency that collects tax) – how is that the fault of immigrants? Did immigrants get together, have a meeting and agree and enforce the introduction and proliferation of zero-hour contracts with employers. I think not.
Leave had the lofty aim of initially not campaigning on immigration and tried to side-line Nigel Farage because they considered him to be a toxic figure. Now, having seemingly lost the economic argument, they have made immigration the central pillar of their campaign, but are being deliberately vague on how they would cut numbers and control immigration because they don’t have a magic answer. If there were an easy answer, it would have already been implemented.
– Does immigration cause low wages? No, employers racing to the bottom with minimal govt intervention cause low wages. For instance, why are UK employers allowed to advertise and recruit for UK jobs abroad without 1st doing so in the UK?
– Does immigration cost us more in terms of income tax paid in vs benefits paid out? Er, £(3.1 – 0.56) = £2.54bn, so no.
– If we cut EU immigration to zero without increasing non-EU immigration would we be better off? Well, no, we’d be at least £2.54bn worse off, but that’s a stupid question. VoteLeave wants to be able to use a Australian-style points system to control EU immigration, but that would likely lead to us leaving the Single Market (not good for our economy) and gives no guarantee on reducing immigration numbers as the Australians have found out.
Immigration needs to be managed and Remain has not managed it well, but Leave does not yet have a more credible solution to cut and control numbers without damaging the UK economy.
#FactCheck: Employment rights – govt information
#FactCheck: Borders – govt information
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Created: 18th June 2016, Published: 19th June 2016
Updated: 5th November 2018 – Minor grammar changes, heading style updates & copyright inclusion; 19th September 2019 – addition of Previous & Next links and subscription block.
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