UK: GET A GRIP ON IMMIGRATION
You would think that if 51% of the population believe that immigration is the most important issue facing the country, that the government of the day would act and use this to gain more support from the voting public (seeing that all politicians seem to care about these days are poll results). Instead, Mr Cameron is so wishy-washy with his response to the poll. I wish these politicians would grow a back-bone and just say what everyone wants to hear – that immigration has become a problem and the immigrants coming into the country are not assimilating. Is he scared that the UK will be open to another terrorist attack? Probably – but then these criminals win. If no one acts now, can you imagine what the country will be afraid of in 10 years time??
ONE of David Cameron’s closest allies last night warned the Government to get a grip on immigration before it is too late.
The call came as a Sunday Express opinion poll revealed 51 per cent of people believe it is the most important issue facing the country after the economy.
Influential Tory MP Nick Boles, who is part of the Prime Minister’s “Notting Hill set”, said the country could face social breakdown unless radical measures were taken to tackle the number of migrants coming here. Mr Boles, founder of the Policy Exchange think tank, called for new policies that would not only cut migrant numbers but also help unite the country.
He said there should be an end to the millions spent on translators, expulsion of unemployed EU migrants, greater emphasis on the teaching of British history and the introduction of a US-style pledge of allegiance in primary schools.
His ideas came as a Sunday Express/Angus Reid poll showed Labour taking a three-point lead over the Conservatives, with Lib Dems drifting in huge numbers to Ed Miliband’s party.
It will be a stark warning to Mr Cameron as the Conservatives start their annual conference in Birmingham today.
Asked in our poll what is the most important issue facing Britain today after the economy, 51 per cent said immigration. That is more than double the next most important issue, health, at 19 per cent.
The concerns were most pronounced among the over-55s and in the Midlands and Wales.
Mr Boles said our findings proved that Mr Cameron must continue to debate immigration. He has outlined his views in a hard-hitting new book, Which Way’s Up.
He said he had changed his mind about the matter after working as a councillor in inner city Westminster where he saw the “downside of mass immigration”.
Newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers “made it impossible for young adult children to find accommodation in the communities in which they had grown up and where their parents lived”.
The July 7 bombings in 2005 not only proved that we had failed to integrate immigrants into our society but also that the authorities had lost control over the “sheer scale” of the numbers.
Mr Boles said the country risked social breakdown if drastic measures were not taken to prevent “hundreds of thousands of people from around the world” joining hospital queues and sending their children to British schools. “Nor can we sit back while eight million British citizens of working age either shun or are shut out from all forms of useful economic activity because employers can find migrant workers who will accept subsistence wages to do menial jobs,” he warned.
He said the points-based system introduced by Labour, in which would-be settlers are assessed on the skills they offer, was a good start but Mr Cameron needed to go further.
In 2009 the net inflow to the UK of non-EU migrants was 196,000. The coalition has pledged to cap those numbers but has yet to state a figure.
Mr Boles said new arrivals should be required to pay a surety before their visas are stamped. He told the Sunday Express the figure would vary depending on the migrant’s skills but a typical sum could be about £5,000.
He said in his book that the Government would repay it once the individual had paid income tax, either for a specified number of years or an amount “several times” the value of the deposit.
Mr Boles said the surety would be forfeited if he or she committed a crime or failed to pay any income tax for “say three years”.
He said the deposit would “go a long way to satisfy the essentially fair-minded British people that their generosity was not being abused” and ensure that “migrants are paying their way and not taking the rest of us for a ride”.
The MP for Grantham in Lincolnshire, which has seen large numbers of eastern European labourers arrive to work on farms, said people were concerned about the way some EU migrants abused the system, for example by claiming benefits for children who did not even live in the UK.
He added: “We should pass legislation to restrict social housing to people who have been resident in the UK for at least five years, so that the right to social housing becomes something that you earn after a sustained commitment to British society.”
As well as those short-term measures, Mr Boles said there needed to be a longer term cultural shift so that there was a reassertion of British values.
Mastering English and learning about British history would help immigrants feel a sense of belonging. “We need to make it an absolute requirement that they learn our language. This should involve an end to the translation of official documents and websites into foreign languages.”
He said Britain should follow the example of America, where children start their school days with a pledge of allegiance to the nation.
Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman said that while the Prime Minister did not necessarily endorse Mr Boles’s book, he agreed on the need, for example, for greater emphasis on history teaching.