Chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips’ speech at the Confederation of British Industry yesterday has resulted in a lot of media attention about the disproportionate effect of economic crisis on the white working class who are after all a majority in UK. And it’s quite right that the right-wing may use simple statistics to scapegoat migrants workers as poverty and employment strikes.
Less well reported (but actually to be found in the Telegraph today) is the prediction that up to one million immigrant workers might leave UK. So Britain is effectively “exporting unemployment” that would otherwise be 3 million instead of 2 million.
Not only do we find that 100,000’s of EU nationals in the UK have already left due to losing jobs or deciding it’s not worth staying anymore, but even though many are eligible to claim benefits including Job Seekers’ Allowance, government figures show there have been only 4,647 successful JSA applications from eastern Europeans since 2004. So any idea of migrants scrounging of the state is nonsense. If any finger is to be pointed, it’s at the capitalist system that cares little about working people whereever they are from, as long as we work and don’t cause trouble.
See also: “Migrants come here for an easy ride? – don?t make us laugh!
The following newpaper article about a study that revealed a ‘doubling’ of asylum seeker and refugee destitution in 18 months is from the Guardian and was forwarded by NCADC. If you are on the ground and count amongst the ‘refused’ this will of course come as no surprise. But the answer is not to make the Home Office more efficient – the goal must surely be to counter the whole idea that people can be deprived of the basic necessities of life. Having to resort to charities and church handouts is an undignified last resort, although less so when asylum seekers are able to be involved in a process of self-help like many do at the NNRF. On the otherhand, it is good that so many in the wider community are seeing the need to blatantly defy the government’s attempts to punish the failed and refused by denying them food and shelter. Other examples are the Oxford parents who have organised to foster asylum seeker children so their parents cannot so easily be deported, and community action against dawn raids by police and immigration officials who turn up to take people away in Newcastle, Glasgow and elsewhere. All this is saying to the state – we’ll refuse your authority if you refuse those in our community. This is at least one positive outcome from this distressing situation, because state power is at the root of border and immigration misery.
Asylum seeker and refugee destitution has doubled, says trust
Destitution among refused asylum seekers and refugees in Britain has more than doubled in 18 months, according to a report which describes government policy on the issue as “unacceptable”.
The number of children affected has quadrupled and rough sleepers have increased by a third, says the follow-up study by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. The trust prompted a national debate in March last year after revealing how many failed asylum seekers were surviving only through charity and church support. Chaired by the broadcaster and writer Kate Adie, and including Sayeeda Warsi, now Lady Warsi, the Conservative shadow minister for community cohesion, the original inquiry highlighted an “invisible population which can neither go home nor contribute to British society”.
Full article: Martin Wainwright, The Guardian, Thursday July 24, 2008