LETTER: Scapegoating one part of community

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In your article of the 30th October ‘UKIP candidate launches MP bid’ Roger Arthur, for want of any original views relevant to the area that he seeks to represent, spouts the worn out UKIP propaganda that somehow the national debt is all the fault of migrant workers.

The claims he makes have been firmly discredited by the report by academics from University College London. The report identified a net benefit to the exchequer of £20 billion from EU migration.

Arthur goes on to say, ‘we just can’t afford to provide free benefits, housing and aid to allcomers’. Either he is not aware of the facts or he simply chooses to ignore them. We are not providing free benefits to all comers.

The UCL study confirms what many of us already knew, that the vast majority of migrants come here to work and, indeed, the economy in our regions would be hard pushed to prosper without migrant workers who contribute far more to the national economy than they take out.

The Labour Party recognises the contributions that all workers make to our greater economic good, both in the contribution to the exchequer and the vital work carried out, for example, in our hospitals, schools and, most importantly for West Sussex, in agriculture and tourism – our two largest employers. In a county where we have record levels of employment and corresponding low levels of unemployment, Roger Arthur and his UKIP colleagues should consider how a restriction on migration would affect these industries.

The answer must surely be that the without migrant workers many jobs in these sectors would remain vacant. Local people are simply unable or unwilling to take on the low paid jobs on which our local economy relies. The agricultural sector struggling to survive would inevitably lead to increased food prices, hotels and restaurant businesses would close down and care services would enter meltdown.

UKIP tell us that they are not opposed to migration but wish to manage it. Perhaps Roger Arthur should have dedicated more time to explaining how he would manage migration in a way that would sustain our local economy.

What Roger Arthur fails to understand is that the role of government goes beyond scapegoating one sector of our community for all society’s problems. Instead of seeking to blame all our ills on migrant workers who make an invaluable contribution to our society, it is the responsibility of politicians to invest in infrastructure in a way that can accommodate all who live and work within our communities. It is the failure to do so that has brought about many of the problems that residents face in terms of the accessing to decent services, well paid jobs and protection of our environment to name just a few.

Roger Arthur promotes the fact that he is a signatory of the Free Speech Charter and yet he is clearly wedded to the UKIP message, a message that is divisive, negative and has no relevance to the constituency that he wishes to represent, if anything his agenda would be seriously damaging.

If he wishes to seriously engage with the political debate for this area he needs to do better than this.

DAVID HIDE

Chair, Horsham Labour Party, Clarence Road, Horsham