Unpublished Letter to North Somerset Times: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/mswmigrantsmythsOf 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