Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bulgar Off! Says Evening Post Editor

Last weekend, Evening Post editor Spencer Feeney published a provocative leader calling for restrictions on people from the enlarged European Union.

He called for a debate on the subject, but has so far not published any letters on the subject. Well, this was my contribution and I am not holding my breath any longer:

Dear Sir

I am quite happy to talk about the movement of labour across Europe, but can we dispose of one thing first? The financial pressure on towns like Llanelli and Slough is caused only indirectly by immigration. The primary cause is the government's failure to respond to increases in population,as indicated by National Insurance contributions, when making council tax equalisation payments. Instead, it relies on census data which can be as much as ten years out of date.

The pressures would be the same if the new workers came from England, Scotland or other parts of Wales.

People coming to Britain from Eastern Europe to work is nothing new. Poles and Ukrainians augmented the workforce in South Wales, as well as other parts of Britain, as we strove to rebuild after the war. There was even a Ukrainian club in Morriston until the late 1960s.

There is clearly a need for new people. I am told that the Crymlyn recycling plant would have to close if it were not for the Lithuanians who are working there. One presumes that there are vacancies in Llanelli which would be unfilled if it were not for people coming from other parts of Europe.

We have benefited from the EU's concept of freedom of labour. Everybody knows about the brickies of "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet", who made money out of the construction boom in Germany. Not so well known is the commuting of Welsh men and women to work in the hospitality industries in Ireland, or the IT people from the UK who work in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

We can't have it both ways.

In any case, it is probable that the economies of the ex-Iron Curtain countries will take off as the Republic of Ireland's did, after it acceded to the EU. Then we may see the flow of migration reverse!

Yours sincerely,

Frank Little
Post a Comment