During the Conservative Party Conference, Home Secretary Amber Rudd floated a proposal to force companies to publish the proportion of international staff on their books.

Such a policy would do nothing to address concerns over job availability. Instead, it would serve only to heighten division within British communities and foster anti-immigrant sentiment. 

Singling migrants out as a separate category in this way wilfully ignores the contributions they make to Britain and its society.

During her conference speech Rudd also said:

“I believe immigration has brought many benefits to the nation. It has enhanced our economy, our society and our culture.

This is why I want to reduce net migration while continuing to ensure we attract the brightest and the best.

Because it’s only by reducing the numbers back down to sustainable levels that we can change the tide of public opinion … so once again immigration is something we can all welcome.”

Policies such as this one – not to mention others outside the scope of this petition – do nothing to assist in changing this “tide” or in supporting the notion that immigration is a positive for Britain economically, socially and culturally.

This policy is also a simple one to dismiss: it serves little purpose and would not be missed.

The government should withdraw this proposal.

Sign the Petition Here.

Unpublished Letter to North Somerset Times:

Dear Editor,
I write in response to the discussion about the lack of housing and the extent to which immigration has contributed to a shortage. Of course there is a housing shortage, but this is because of the failure of this Tory government and the previous one to build sufficient houses. The Tories have forced austerity on local authorities and families, something North Somerset Council has complained about, and social housing starts have been far too low; that is the problem. To blame the shortage on immigrants when we have so few in our area is the worst kind of xenophobia.
Of course, the need for more houses is based on the fact that people are living longer and that more people move into the area than leave it. That’s British people moving into the area.
North Somerset has 3,500 people on its housing waiting list, but only a small number of immigrants from the EU and other countries, most of whom live in the private rented sector. Of those: 96.7% speak English as their first language and only 0.1% don’t speak English; the three largest groups are Polish, German and Irish; 94% of people in North Somerset were born in the UK; when asked, British people think that the UK Muslim population is 24%, when, in fact, it is 5% nationally and 1% in the south west; we are more likely to be treated in hospital by a migrant than we are to meet one in the waiting room; and 29 million tourists came to the UK last year, many to our region, and this number will surely decrease if we become known for not wanting foreigners here?
These are just a few of the facts gleaned from the latest census, but you can find more facts, by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/mswmigrantsmyths
Of course, if Liam Fox MP has his way, we will come out of the EU. He has failed to explain what will happen in the next couple of years if we do. I think leaving the EU would be a decision  which would cause economic problems for most of us and the possible breakup of the UK.
Yours sincerely,
Paul Dunn

Unpublished Letter to the Editor of the North Somerset Times:

Dear Editor

The article in last week’s North Somerset Times and Liam Fox’s comments about large swathes of the countryside being lost ‘possibly forever’ relates debates and decisions about housing and green spaces in North Somerset to immigration.  North Somerset Council’s decisions about protecting green spaces is not related to immigration for three reasons:

First, according to a 2nd February North Somerset Council report, Nigel Ashton has committed to housing 3 Syrian families/households across all the towns and villages in the whole of North Somerset. using Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme funding from central government. (Source, PDF)

Second, as a result of housing the three families/households this leaves North Somerset Council less likely to assist with those seeking asylum from war in the UK as the report states “Any decision to accommodate Syrian Refugees is likely to reduce North Somerset’s ability to take part in asylum seeker dispersal, given the pressures on the local housing market and services.”

Third, 190,809 of the 202,566 residents of North Somerset in 2011 census were born in the UK.  In 2013/4 the Office of National Statistics indicates that the balance of incoming long term international migration (offset against outgoing) was 285 people.  This volume is not responsible for the ‘protect our green spaces’ campaigns we see on our streets and social media. (Source)

It is very important to use facts to remain credible about matters of such importance.

 Angela Everitt

Secretary
North Somerset Constituency Labour Party

To: The Editor

North Somerset Times

I write in response to the letter from J. Hughes last week, in which s/he refers to lots of perceived problems, but quotes no facts about the south west. In fact: 96.7% speak English as their first language and only 0.1% don’t speak English; the three largest groups are Polish, German and Irish; 94% of people in North Somerset were born in the UK; when asked, British people think that the UK Muslim population is 24%, when, in fact, it is 5% nationally and 1% in the south west; we are more likely to be treated in hospital by a migrant than we are to meet one in the waiting room; 29 million tourists cane to the UK last year and yet some panic about migrants; and 23,910 foreign students paid to study at our SW universities in 2011-12, the largest number from China, and the most popular course was business studies.
These are just a few of the facts gleaned from the latest census, but you can find more facts, by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/mswmigrantsmyths
Of course, if Liam Fox MP has his way, we will come out of the EU and then we can send all of these people home, but, of course, we will then have to receive an even larger number of Brits who will be forced to come back here to live.
I’m not calling anyone a mindless xenophobe, but it would be nice if people like J. Hughes based their argument on facts and not myths.
Yours sincerely,
Paul Dunn
3 The Deans
Portishead
BS20 6EG

To: The Editor

North Somerset Times

In response to J.Hughes’s letter (NS Times Jan. 27th 2016), my first concern was that Nigel Ashton used a council funded publication to misrepresent the reasons why people are fleeing the Middle East. He questions whether Europe should be expected to receive migrants from this war torn area when Britain’s military interventions in the region have been instrumental in creating the current migration crisis.

He argues that migrants create funding problems for the NHS and housing. The NHS’s funding problems and the housing crisis have been caused by years of under-investment, not by migrants. Even the most superficial look at the health, caring and service sectors confirms that, without immigration, these organisations could not function. The lack of funds for health and social care has resulted from political decisions. Britain is an extremely rich country that can afford to maintain the housing and health of its population. It’s just that the government has decided that money is better spent on increasing property prices, letting large corporations off their tax liabilities and protecting the banks.

Hughes cites the events in Cologne as a reason to be wary of accepting migrants. What happened in Germany were appalling criminal acts that should be treated as such. Citing these events in relation to immigration policy in this country is more likely to exacerbate rather than resolve integration problems. Lets not go down the Donald Trump road.

The world economy relies on the free movement of capital and labour and migration is part of this system. Because of the enormous, and growing gap between the rich and the poor there will be immigration pressures on rich countries that have to be managed. We, of course are very selective in who we choose to let in. Sometimes we want low skilled workers but mostly we take the brightest and best from countries that can ill afford to lose them.

The world is blighted by inequality and war. Mass migration is a consequence of this. The rich country’s migration problems are trifling compared with what is happening elsewhere. North Somerset is not exempt from offering humanitarian responses to an international crisis. Hughes may not be a xenophobe but she or he certainly needs to think more about the migration problem

Dr Martin Hime

Chair, North Somerset Constituency Labour Party

Here in the south west under 8% of the population was born abroad, that’s the 8th out of the ten regions. The information leaflet ‘ Truth, Lies and Migrants’ from the TUC provides lots of useful data regarding the make up of the south west population and the movement of people in and out of the region.

Here’s a link to the TUC leaflet that provides some real data to give you a picture of this issue in the south west.

 

Immigration is an important issues and one that needs to be taken seriously. The prosperous and successful future of our country depends on ensuring we attract and maintain the right balance of working age people to support our children and older people.

Controlling our borders effectively and staffing our immigration offices adequately to ensure applications are processed correctly and promptly is of course key to delivering the right balance of working age people to support this country.

Policy decisions should be made based on economic facts, forecasts and statistics, both locally and nationally.

Here’s a link to the TUC leaflet that provides some real data to give you a picture of this issue in the south west.