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UK Government's Fear of Losing Seats Turns Debate on Immigration ‘Toxic’

Monday, 19 January 2015

EDINBURGH– The debate over immigration into the UK has become "toxic" because the UK government is afraid of losing seats to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), leader of Respect Party George Galloway told Sputnik on Friday.

"This whole toxic debate has been stirred up by UKIP and the government's response, the Tory response to it, is fear of losing seats to them and not being returned in the May elections," Galloway said.

Galloway told Sputnik that many immigrants coming to the country were either British of European nationals.

"The truth is that the majority of immigrants coming into Britain, 52 percent of them, are either British citizens returning to the country or European nationals," Galloway said. "And of course there is free movement between member countries of the EU so, much as this government is trying to stop it, there's presently nothing to prevent anyone from a European country coming to Britain," he added.

"Of course the remainder, the minority, the others from non-EU countries, are subject to immigration controls, which is where the UK government can act to restrict the flow," Galloway told Sputnik.

The member of parliament added that many of the immigrants were willing to do the jobs that British people chose not to and Galloway said that the National Health Service (NHS) would not be able to operate without them.

"As anyone who lives here knows, at one level it's the immigrants who do the jobs that no British person will, and at another they're the ones who keep the health service running. In Scotland, for instance, the population is falling and country is crying out for immigrants. And as anyone knows who's flown over Britain the argument that we're overcrowded is a complete nonsense," Galloway said.

Dom Flynn, Director with Migrants' Rights Network, agreed with Galloway that far from being a drain on the UK economy immigrants were providing a net benefit to the economy.

"There was a study published by University College last year and that set out the facts that migrants have contributed in the region of $40.8 billion to the economy in the period since 2004, whilst native born people have been a net cost to the British economy of something in the region of $300 billion," Flynn told Sputnik.

"What we are observing is young economically active people who are keen to slot in to whatever vacancies exist in the British economy and the significance of that is they are going to pay taxes because they are young, and by and large healthy, and are going to have less need for expensive public services like the NHS," Flynn added.

"There is nothing inherently alarming that the population is increasing," Flynn told Sputnik.

New figures published Friday by the Office of National Statistics show that net migration into the UK rose from 17,000 in 1983 to 209,000 in 2013, prompting warnings by anti-immigration campaign groups, like Migration Watch, that UK immigration was "far from under complete control".

Sputnik International

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