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Truth, Lies and Migrants

by Roberto Franceschini, Chairman of the European Movement’s Devon branch.///

The South West TUC has issued a well researched guide about migration in the region (“Truth, lies and Migrants” South West TUC December 2013). If, like me, you are tired of seeing in the Daily Mail scare stories of migrants swamping us out, their study makes for interesting and very welcome reading.

Of the South West’s 5,3 million residents in 2012, 140.000 came in from other parts of the UK, while 120.000 moved away. Of our South West residents, 92% are born here in the UK with only 8% born abroad (but only 1% of these do not speak English as a first language).

Most visitors to the region are tourists with 29 million coming from abroad each year. Our universities have 24.000 paying students (15% of these are from China). This alone gives our region a strong economic asset, which the likes of UKIP would like us to forget about. There are only 650 asylum seekers in the South West mostly in Bristol. In fact the UK is 5th after the USA, Germany, France and Sweden in the number of asylum seekers admitted in the country. And don’t believe the “scrounger” stories, these are wrong, as asylum seekers are given just £36,62 a week!

We are told about Romanians and Bulgarians flooding in… Figures saw that just 6,6% of Romanians are considering leaving their country this year but their first choice is Italy (the UK is their third choice). Of the 100.000 Romanians who are already here, 85% are in full time work and most are under the age of 35. 40% have degrees, and there have been just 300 claims for child benefit.

And for the scare stories of disability benefits, the TUC finds that 7% of British nationals claim them whilst 3% of UK migrants do so. Out of work benefits are claimed by 4% of British nationals with only 1% of UK migrants claiming.

With an ageing population in the South West we need to welcome more people to help us run our Health Services, social and welfare support, our industries and agriculture. That’s why we need to welcome such workers as friends here, rather than target them and use them as scapegoats.

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  1. Very well broken down. Britain is swamped with exaggerated negative stories of immigrants. This dispels the commonly held confusions of a large group of people of the UK.

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