By Tim Montgomerie
Follow Tim on Twitter
In the Commons yesterday there was a debate on immigration. Pasted below I pick out highlights of the contribution made by the MP for Canterbury, Julian Brazier.
Immigration during the Labour years was at least two million: "It is curious, looking through one’s postbag, how many of the pressing issues facing Britain today—housing shortages, congestion on roads and public transport, water shortages, pressures on public infrastructure of every kind—derive largely from a single, common factor: population growth, to which my right hon. Friend referred. We are one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with 255 people per square kilometre. During the time of the last Labour Government, immigration policies encouraged an unprecedented influx from EU and non-EU countries, which has boosted populations in some urban areas to near crisis point. Between 1997 and 2009, after deducting the number of those leaving, more than 2 million extra people were recorded as settling in the UK, a surge that is unprecedented. However, for the first time, those figures were calculated without using embarkation records, so the true figure may be much higher."
Big business benefits from mass immigration at expense of ordinary workers: "There are powerful voices that welcome continued heavy immigration. Big business benefits from the arrival of large numbers of people willing to work, since they drive down the cost of labour at the expense of the living standards of the indigenous workforce; and the wives of the better-off are able to get help in the home at a fraction of a living wage for local people, but then they and their families are not usually struggling to pay their mortgages and watching their children’s education being destroyed in schools with dozens of languages."
The impact of immigration on UK infrastucture: "Middle-income and lower middle-income Britain is hurting: with long working hours, high levels of debt and rising prices in so many sectors, people struggle to meet their mortgages and rent payments and they see their standard of living eroded. There is a severe shortage of homes, and overcrowding in many schools, hospitals and prisons, too. We are trying to cope with the strains of a growing population. Infrastructure is also desperately overstretched in so many ways, with issues of flooding, water supplies, roads and land preservation looming.
Action on immigration must be stronger: "We all recognise the huge contribution that moderate levels of immigration have made to this country in the past. I welcome the measures that Ministers and the Government have taken. I would argue, however, that the Coalition has a long way to go on this issue. The heavy criticism from big business and elements from the left must not put them off. It is time to recognise that we must take much stronger action if we want to head off the most severe social consequences and a backlash orchestrated by some unattractive people in the extremes—not just from indigenous people, but increasingly from many concerned people in our settled ethnic minority communities."
> James Clappison MP: Five steps towards proper control of immigration