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Immigration is not our main problem

IN YOUR April 24 edition, you published the EU manifestos for all the political parties, and I am writing to challenge statements made by the Ukip candidate, particularly concerning immigration. Ukip claim that this country has seen more than 4 million immigrants over the last decade. While the 2011 census did show that there was a large increase in the population of England and Wales — 3.7 million between 2001 and 2011 — the primary cause was not immigration but ‘natural change’. The first and most significant was increased life expectancy, with sizeable increases in the number of people aged over 80. The second factor was an increase in the birth rate among women born in the UK and among young immigrants. The third factor was immigration.

So to suggest that 4 million immigrants had come ‘pouring into’ the UK during that time is scare-mongering nonsense and distorts reality. It also disguises the fact that our ageing population will need a continuing high birth rate to ensure there is a balanced and economically active population. Immigration contributes to this, as it always has. As a recent study by University College of London concluded, EU immigrants arriving between 2001 and 2011 contributed 34 per cent more in taxes than they received in benefits. It is equally untrue to claim that ‘70 per cent of our laws’ come from Europe. A study done by the House of Commons library showed that only 6.8 per cent of our Laws and 14 per cent of statutory instruments come from the EU. Whatever bad laws have been passed in recent years, such as the awful NHS legislation, we have mainly our own dear Parliament to blame! These inflammatory and misleading statements are dangerous, and intended to frighten and distract us. Whatever the problems arising from EU membership or immigration, neither is responsible for the economic and social difficulties we face. They did not cause the 2008 financial crash or the savage austerity programme being inflicted by this Government. There is a debate to be had about how we secure jobs, houses and good public services for all our people, but we wont get that from Ukip.

Rita O’Brien
Whitstable Labour Party

Herne Bay Times, May 8th 2014

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