Leading GP: Labour’s migration policies will protect the UK and meet the needs of its people

Health expert reflects on the importance of migrants to our health and social care sectors – and on Labour’s plans

Contrary to the myth – and Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel’s claim that immigration would “surge” to 840,000 if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister – Britain is not a particularly high-migration country.

The UK has fewer foreign-born residents than either France or Germany and the UK’s workforce has fewer than 10% foreign-born – including from the EU) – compared to 15% in the US.

Net immigration is falling. Patel’s scare stories about immigration are totally false and without any foundation.

How right Jeremy Corbyn is when he tweets, “When politicians resort to blaming immigrants, you know they’ve run out of ideas”.

Corbyn has always supported “fair rules” and “reasonable management” of immigration. He is quite clear, “that we need to end the exploitation that’s going on, we need to maintain a market access within Europe and we need to ensure there are good relations between all communities”.

I couldn’t agree more: immigration must be set against continued access to markets for British business and the needs of organisations like the NHS and the UK’s social care sector.

The “grotesque exploitation” of EU migrants by some UK companies had caused “awful tensions” in communities because of the under-cutting of wages – and this has to stop. This political stunts of the Tories under Boris Johnson could prevent much-needed specialist workers from settling in Britain even though they are vital for our economy and public services.

The NHS depends on black and minority ethnic staff to provide high quality, reliable and safe care to patients – and has done since its inception in 1948.

These staff enrich the NHS with their skills, enthusiasm and diverse perspectives. The NHS is the largest employer of BAME staff in the UK: more than 200,000 health service staff (around a third of doctors and a fifth of nurses and midwives) are from BAME backgrounds and a third of NHS doctors trained overseas.

Even now, amid increasingly difficult working conditions, the Department of Health and Social Care is recruiting all grades and specialties of doctors and nurses from outside the EU.

Many EU citizens, Asian and black health professionals have been the workhorses of the NHS, concentrated in the lowest paid, least glamorous specialties, often in the least popular parts of the country. Some have faced racism and slow promotion in their working life.

The problems facing the NHS will certainly be exacerbated by continued Tory government. It’s worth remembering that social care employs almost as many people as the NHS – 1.6 million across the UK, of which approximately 90,000 are EU nationals.

Whatever the UK’s future status, the Labour party will make sure that any arrangements protect both the interests of British nationals and the needs of our health and social care sectors, making it attractive for needed migrants and their families to come to the UK and provide the services and expertise we need.

Jeremy Corbyn and Labour are absolutely right to advocate that, What is required is neither fortress Britain, nor open-door Britain. Instead, what we need is to ensure that there is fairness, equality and diversity while celebrating the Brtitishness of our society.

This will harness public support for a controlled but fair migration policy that benefits Britain and its people.

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    1. Sadly, Labour has no honest, clearly explained, policy on immigration and its actual economic consequences , ie, labour supply, at all. Jeremy’s slippery, evasive, interview ‘answers’ on the political shows this morning when questioned on this key issue being sad evidence. Jeremy tried to dismiss the quite clear September Conference vote for not only maintaining Freedom of Movement on a EU-wide scale, but ‘broadening it still further ‘, as concerned only with ‘reuniting families’ ! Simply not true. Our overwhelming Left Liberal membership really do want the UK to be open to anyone in the world to come and live and work , regardless of the impact on our citizens.

      This is lovely 5th form virtue-signalling liberalism – but ignores the consequences of the resulting unlimited labour supply on wages and conditions for the millions of poorer , unskilled and semi-skilled, working class citizens who have had to compete for work with the unlimited labour supply from the EU alone, over the last 15 years in particular (when net migration to the UK has been running at completely historically unprecedented levels , of circa 300,000+ every year since the accession of the poorest East European EU states). Now that might not inconvenience our largely professional middle class membership – who directly personally benefit from the cheap Uber taxis and cheap Polish plumbers and cheap Amazon delivery drivers, and cheap take-out food services that unlimited labour supply enables, but sure as hell it devastates the lives of millions of our traditional working class voter base !

      Unlimited labour supply via the EU was always one of the never stated but key policy planks of the entire Blair /Brown government neoliberal economic strategy – alongside letting the financial sector run wild, and ever-increasing privatisation – and keeping in place all the vicious Tory anti trades union legislation. It ‘worked’ – wages never became an inflationary factor during the Blair/Brown government – at the cost of ever more national income going to profits not wages. And of course , letting the banks run wild, without supervision, was a key factor in the overwhelmingly US/UK based 2008 financial crash that almost collapsed the global economy .

      So Skwawkbox’s dodgy article here is citing non sequitur figures about the overall historic proportions of non indigenous population proportions in the UK compared to other states – carefully ignoring the extraordinary , unprecedented, net immigration of the last 20 years – which has saturated , particularly the unskilled and semi-skilled labour markets with surplus labour , such that the state-set ‘minimum wage’ is now increasingly also the maximum wage in ever-increasing sectors.

      A genuine socialist policy on immigration would wrap the entire issue of immigration/labour supply into the strategy of overall comprehensive state-led economic planning , and be straight with our voter citizens that although there will always be significant immigration into the UK, that population size and labour supply, training, and related housing and education and health service provision, and prioritised job opportunities for all our UK citizens will be integral components of national planning, and the needs of UK citizens (regardless of ethnicity, sex, religion, etc) will come before the needs of UK based business to secure an unlimited labour supply at the lowest cost.

      But Labour won’t do this , because it has lost its traditional social democratic politics, to be replaced by the moralistic , scattergun , often, contradictory, wish list policy bundle of its individualistic middle class Left Liberal activist membership. And still this naive , largely insulated from the consequences of unlimited labour supply, middle class membership expects the largely Leave-supporting poorer working class voter base in our key heartlands to vote Labour on the 12th December ! A Scottish Labour style collapse of the Labour vote in our heartlands in England and Wales awaits. And no one will be more surprised and uncomprehending than our arrogant, smug, virtue-signalling middle class Left Liberal membership.

      1. J.Penny’s comments seem to reflect Len McCluskey’s latest reractionary, pr-Brexit and anti-internationalists intervention: his ‘Guardian’ interview, attacking conference policy on free movement. This is (at best) a highly creative interpretation of an executive statement passed at Unite’s most recent policy conference. It has also served to expose damaging differences within Labour and open the party up to vicious attack from the right wing press.

        The conference (July 2018) received a large number of motions on Brexit, the vast majority of which were hostile to “no deal”, one (from North West/Automotive RISC) called for “continued participation in and access to the European single market”, several called for a second referendum and one (from West Midlands/Automotive RISC) called upon the union to:
        •Campaign against any Brexit deal that would harm UK jobs and economy by the introduction of trade barriers.
        •Campaign against any terms that would have a detrimental impact on UK workers’ rights.
        •Campaign to ensure that the UK public has a binding vote to accept the terms of the UK exit from the EU or reject the terms of the UK exit from the EU and remain in the EU.
        •In the absence of a public vote on the final Brexit terms, campaign to re-join the EU if the UK leaves the EU with trade barriers that have a detrimental impact on UK workers.
        •Ensure the union remains fully committed to all EU trade union federations, alliances and organisations.

        There was just one motion (London & Eastern / 1228 Waltham Forest Council Branch) calling for a “socialist Brexit”.

        Inevitably, in the compositing process, the motions were combined, generalised and (in the case of the West Midlands Automotive motion), the more outspoken anti-Brexit sentiments were omitted. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that McCluskey and his Stalinist friends were preparing the ground for reversing Unite’s existing pro-EU policy and establishing a new de facto policy (never voted upon) of support for Brexit and opposition to free movement.

        This resulted in an executive statement that began by accepting the result of the 2016 referendum, but which did not rule out a second referendum (“popular vote”) on Brexit: “We are also open to the possibility of a popular vote being held on any deal, depending on political circumstances.” It’s not the main thrust of the statement (which was to force an early general election), but it’s there in black and white as a “possibility”.

        Perhaps more importantly, what the executive statement had to say about free movement was a studiedly ambiguous wording that McCluskey is now exploiting in his campaign against free movement.

      2. Len McCluskey is of course quite correct in his recent, well-publicised, comments highlighting the electoral folly of the current ‘No borders, global free movement , unlimited labour supply ,Liberal ideology that is now widespread in the Party . But then he is the leader of a huge trades union that has a large tranche of its lower paid members deeply impacted by unlimited labour supply, not least in firms like Sports Direct which Unite is working hard to unionise – with considerable difficulty given the foreign sourcing of much of its workforce.

        Jim Denham is a long-time fanatical pro EU enthusiast, with no real criticisms at all of that neoliberal organisation – who regularly insists that anyone, even socialists who wants to pull the UK out of that neoliberal straightjacket, so we can pursue a Left oriented economic policy, must implicitly be some sort of Trumpite/Faragite stooge , or indeed a racist and Nazi sympathiser . Such is the arrogance of the likes of toy Trots like Denham. Tragically, he is, or was, supposedly a ‘Marxist’ , and member of that supposed ‘Marxist/Trot, sect, the AWL. How Trot politics have utterly degenerated nowadays as the tiny remnants of Trotskyism are finally , terminally, subsumed into that smug middle class Left Liberal moralism that has also consumed the rest of what once was the UK radical socialist Left..

        Interestingly, in his posting Denham has not provided a scintilla of argument to contradict what either I or Len McCluskey have stated on the Freedom of Movement/unlimited labour supply/ impact on wages, issue. Just repeated a load of analysis-free vacuous virtue-signalling motions by other Left Liberals !

  1. I will dare challenge these assumptions that appear to have fallen out the centre pages of the Guardian.
    It is no coincidence that nursing bursaries have been removed by this Tory Government; why have the expense of educating & training NHS staff when you can ‘cherry pick’ ready mades from poorer countries, GB is an attractive destination for anyone with access to a mobile ‘phone, but it is the reason why we have a gig economy; mass poverty & no social mobility, I spoke to a nurse recently who informed me that she earns more than 5 times the average Latvian working wage. She was taught English @ school & all her friends are determined to live here also, but it seems there is a cost @ home……fewer doctors & nurses, as the Neo-Liberal elites can shine their ‘Liberal Badge’
    I have spent most of my life working with ‘working class kids’ in Tertiary Education & YTS. I have seen what deprivation & lack of opportunity can do in inner city areas . Blair was wrong! The class struggle is not over; Grenfell is yet another manifestation. The privately owned Universities (ave wage £450k Vice-Chancellors), are yet another example of our education system failing our young people as 40% staff & students are recruited from abroad. No social mobility.
    To the Labour Party, ‘Equality’ is just a word that can be used to impose quotas that ensure advancement of career opportunities for the bourgeoisie. Traditionally, the one differential that the middle classes care about is the one between them & the poor. Time JC opened his eyes & looked outside the Islington bubble.

  2. Interesting to hear the ‘Green’ MP say on ‘Any Questions’ that we now have a human right to “Live & Love” in 27 European countries. Keep saying that to yourself on the way to the Food Bank.

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