COVENTRY: Local Conservative candidate has his say

As the day fast approaches, the EU referendum has left many people undecided on what would be best for Britain where immigration is concerned.

Throughout the country there has been speculation and controversial terms that many non British citizens who are working and living within the country have been sending the money back to there home lands.

Figures supplied by the office for national statistics show that there are 942,000 Eastern Europeans, Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK, along with 791,000 Western Europeans – and 2.93m workers from outside the EU. China and India are the biggest source of foreign workers living within the UK.

“It is not necessarily the case that the UK government would desire a policy that prevented immigrants from sending money back to their native countries, but hypothetically speaking- such an approach would only be possible outside of EU membership,” said Conservative candidate for Bedworth Heath, Bradley Price.

It should be recognised that there is a difference between financial earnings and welfare payments, for instance, I am more inclined to say that an individual should have the ability to spend or indeed do what they wish with any money that they have earned.”

1. Nigel Farage stated that leaving the EU would help Britain “regain control of our borders”. Do you agree?

“In one sense, Nigel Farage is correct. It should be recognised that there are many factors to consider when deciding whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union, or whether it should leave. It would be too simplistic and indeed misguided to believe that immigration is the only issue at hand.

“The current relationship with the EU essentially means that Britain does not have the ability to ‘control’ immigration from fellow EU member states, of which there are 27. This is problematic, not just because it has arguably led to a strain on infrastructure within the UK, particularly since the inception of the Eastern European countries in 2004. Indeed, this was largely influenced by the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992- introducing the notion of the ‘freedom of movement’ of all EU citizens.

“The current rate of immigration into the UK stands at 330,000 people a year, around 50% of which derives from the EU. This is unsustainable, the population is predicted to rise by around 1.5 million people a year.

“Leaving the EU would not simply mean that all of the issues facing the UK in regards to immigration would be solved, that the issues on infrastructure would suddenly just disappear and cease to exist. Indeed, issues have arisen over many years and they are too profound to simply magic away. Similarly, if the UK were to leave, yet still wanted to negotiate a trade deal with the EU, it is likely the issue of immigration and the founding principle of freedom of movement would arise again. For instance, neither Norway or Switzerland are members of the EU, yet in their trade negotiations with the EU they have agreed on the policy of the freedom of movement of people.

“However, the only way for the UK to at least be able to formulate a policy, independent of the will of others, would be to leave the EU. There are a variety of reasons for doing this. The current situation is discriminative in the sense that it completely disregards those from outside of EU member states- even if they have a talent, a skill and a profession that could be of great use to the UK and the economy. This is utter folly, it is true that the evidence suggests that the vast majority of EU migrants come to the UK to work, yet this does not detract from the illogical exclusion of migrants from other parts of the World.

“One possibility would be that the UK could adopt an approach that serves to treat EU citizens on a par with citizens from all other countries. For instance, a change in policy on visas, work permits, and the notion of having to meet certain financial thresholds before being able to settle in the UK would see EU citizens treated just as other citizens of the world are. Indeed, such an approach would likely make qualifying as a legal immigrant to the UK much more difficult and it could therefore see a reduction in immigration into the UK.

“In summary then, the notion of having a sense of control over immigration could only be achieved by the exit of the UK from the European Union. The extent to which immigration could be controlled or reduced is debateable, this would depend on the approach taken by the UK Government- in regards to whether they still desired to cooperate with the EU, or whether they sought to establish their own policy agenda, irrespective and detached from the EU.”

2. There have been claims that people living and working in the UK send their earnings back home. Do you think that by leaving the EU this issue could be resolved?

“In 2015, a new report demonstrated that the UK topped the list of EU nations in terms of how much migrant cash is sent to home countries rather than being spent to boost the economy where it is earned.
Germany, which has 17 million more people than Britain, sent back £9bn during

“Almost 20,000 economic migrants are sending child benefits back to their own countries and 7, 026 are currently transferring child credit payments. This is a contested issue, since many people argue that since such things are essentially funded by the UK taxpayers, money should therefore be reinvested into the UK economy.

“The issue of remittance is a serious one, it can drive down the wages of both native and foreign workers in the UK, as well as undermining the UK’s balance of payments on a global level. It is however important to note that there are many people who have emigrated from the UK and send finances back to the UK, albeit the number of those who do is considerably smaller than the number of immigrants in the UK that send money back to their native countries.

“It is not necessarily the case that the UK government would desire a policy that prevented immigrants from sending money back to their native countries, but hypothetically speaking- such an approach would only be possible outside of EU membership. Whilst not directly related to the issue of ‘earnings’ being sent back, an example of the difficulty of reforming the remittance issue can be seen sourced from 2015. For instance, David Cameron sought to reform the system, arguing that migrants should not have the ability to claim welfare in the UK and then send any subsequent payments back to their native countries. However, this principle was effectively struck down in the European Court of Justice, when it was deemed that a man living in Germany was perfectly and legally entitled to return welfare payments to his wife and child living in Poland. If this is the stance taken on the issue of welfare remittance, then the likelihood of achieving reform on financial earnings being returned home is minimal.

“It should be recognised that there is a difference between financial earnings and welfare payments, for instance, I am more inclined to say that an individual should have the ability to spend or indeed do what they wish with any money that they have earnt. In contrast, welfare payments are not necessarily earnt, they are tax payer funded and therefore the remittance of them in my view is deeply unfair and financially illogical.

3. What would you be voting on?

“I am leaning towards voting to leave, there are several fundamental reasons for this.

“1. The political direction of the EU as an institution and indeed that of the vast majority of its member states, is at odds with the interests of the U.K.

“A fine example of this is the notion of Economic and Monetary Union. I am well aware we are not part of this, but the point remains that we are in an institution that is fundamentally different in its outlook to ours. This is important, since it relates to the point that the PM has been making and despite his indefatigable efforts, I’m afraid to say I feel he is being disingenuous to the public. The EU has not brought peace at all- look at the financial crisis in Greece. Now, it was not solely the fault of the EU in the first instance, but look at their disjointed, delayed and incompetent response to it…. It proved that in times of crisis- the institution does not have the mechanisms to respond effectively, which combined with the different interests and motives of its member states, means that it is wholly ineffective. This was exemplified above all in recent times by the migration crisis.

“2. Loss of Sovereignty.

“This is something that the British public were never consulted on and therefore could not possibly have consented to. There are many examples of this- I’ll cite just one. In 2001, a European extradition treaty was agreed, effectively meaning that judges and magistrates across the continent could demand the handover of British citizens, merely by naming them as a suspect. This undermines the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

“3. Immigration:

“So often the debate on immigration is focused around ‘good’ or ‘bad’- whether people deserve to be here or not. I think this is short sighted and fails to address the real issue- which is living space. Of course, immigration has had benefits to the country and of course many immigrants are hard working, the concern ought to be that of infrastructure. This is something that politicians of all parties fail to address and in some cases even recognise. The notion of freedom of movement is well documented, a founding principle of the EU which was never going to be sacrificed. However, the issue goes further- since the extraordinary influx of migrants particularly during the New Labour administration created social tensions- far from the peace and tranquility that the PM so falsely paints a picture of.

“4. Lack of democracy within the EU

“The EU and its institutions are inherently lacking democracy. This is especially true of the commission- which holds the executive power within the EU. This is because it is unelected- and whilst the parliament itself is elected- it has failed to gain any sense of legitimacy. Study after study shows that people are not informed on European matters and therefore those who do vote tend to do so on national matters- eg- often a protest against the government of the day in their member states. This therefore adds greater clout to the concerns over a loss of sovereignty to an institution that is not democratic, that is not transparent and significantly that is distant from many European citizens. To quote the words of Tony Benn: “if you can not get rid of the people who govern you, then you do not live in a democratic system”.

“5. Economic matters:

“A single currency can surely never work without a single country- there is naturally different attitudes towards taxation, work ethic etc. One country like Germany makes Mercedes, whilst another may make moussaka. This is incomparable and it is not based on economic reality.

“I don’t think that Europe is necessarily the centre of the world anymore- globalisation has occurred, we have the economic powerhouses of China, Japan and arguably India too. The Word Trade Organisation has set about reducing tariff rates right across the world, and whilst I’m not one to speculate, even if we didn’t sign a free trade deal with the EU- access to their markets would cost around £7.5 billion a year in tariffs. This is well, well below the current membership fee we pay.

“So, outlined is 5 reasons as to why I am leaning towards voting to leave. I must say that as much as I admire the PM and much of his record as leader of the party- on this issue he has displayed and is continuing to display weakness. Time and time again he is going back on statements that he made just months ago, this does not resonate well with people. It is perfectly fine to hold a pro- European vote, of course there are genuine reasons for desiring to stay. However, I would question whether being inconsistent, reactionary and in some senses adopting a ‘win at any cost’ approach is the signs of a strong leader.

Karena Swarn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.