Hugo Mieville, Parliamentary Spokesperson, North Dorset Liberal Democrats writes:
30 May 2016
I am delighted that my recent letter in the local press, urging the UK government to take in 3,000 vulnerable refugee children, has provoked such a strong reaction: both positive and negative. It is a shame that some negative reaction was personal, because my intention was to make a general point about the UK's humanitarian - and indeed Christian - duty to do something to help the weakest and most deserving children - as the fifth richest country in the world. Since my letter, the government has of course backed down on thIs issue - not that I am claiming any credit!
Some of the negative reaction has centred upon the supposed strain placed on public services by immigration. The strain on services in North Dorset has little to do with the very limited amount of immigration in this area, and far more to do with lack of planning and - above all - the lack of central government funding: for instance, the average % of GDP spent in the EU on health services is 9%, as against 6% in the UK. Similarly, the government has effectively frozen spending on education, whilst indulging in totally unnecessary reform of the education system, with their obsession with academization.
These national factors are far more important factors than immigration in Blandford's and North Dorset's acknowledged problems in providing acceptable levels of public services.
In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that immigrants make an overall hugely positive contribution to our national exchequer: because they are predominantly young; because they come here to work and to better themselves - and because they pay much needed taxes and National Insurance. And of course, they help to run those very public services: where would our beloved NHS be without them, for example? Food for thought, when the Leave side are making such play of immigration in the EU referendum debate.