Herald letter: EU Migration (features Alf Garnett)

YOUR correspondent Douglas Mayer (Letters, February 21) in quoting the Lincolnshire town of Boston unfortunately parades many of the misapprehensions which bedevil any discussion on immigration.

Above all, he claims that unlimited EU immigration has led to disadvantages for local people in access to jobs, lowered wages, and in the public services they receive. As Alf Garnett would have put it: “Comin’ over ‘ere, pinchin’ our jobs and ‘ospital beds and school places.” Indeed, what is possibly most depressing about such views is that they have not moved on from the 1960s.

Surely it is better to see the benefits that immigration has delivered both nationally and locally.

In the case of Boston (where I have relatives) the business plan for many local agricultural employers is based on growth which is only possible because of the expanded labour supply provided by EU migration.

Likewise, public services which require minimum population densities and levels of demand continue to serve the town only because of EU migrants. The most obvious example is a local hospital maternity unit, which would have closed had it not been for a revival in the number of births, due to EU migrants. In time the babies will become schoolchildren, who will require schools, which will be kept open instead of suffering closure because of falling rolls.

“So,” shout Alf and his latter day successors, “‘oo is going to pay for it all?” The answer is of course that part of the working population who pay more in through taxation than they take out in services and benefits – which includes the EU migrants.

Peter A Russell

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