Sunday 22 May 2016

Michael Gove is wrong about 5 million more migrants

It seems that Vote Leave has lost leave of their senses.

Their leader, Michael Gove, has claimed that net EU migration to Britain between now and 2030 could be as high as 5 million. His forecast is completely unfounded.

Mr Gove’s assumptions are based on Turkey joining the EU within four years. There is no chance of that happening. 

It’s correct that Turkey is a candidate to join the EU. But to join, Turkey has to pass 35 strict EU membership rules, on issues such as human rights, democratic governance and the robustness of their economy. 

Although Turkey applied to join almost 30 years ago, so far it has only managed to pass one of the 35 EU membership requirements.

On this basis, it could take many decades before Turkey is eligible for membership – if ever. 

And even if and when Turkey is eligible, it can only join with the unanimous agreement of every EU member state – including Britain, which would require the consent of our Parliament before Turkey could be permitted to join the EU.

Even if Britain was the only EU member to say ‘no’, Turkey could not join (although of course, Britain only has such a veto if we’re in the EU).

And if and when Turkey joins the EU, Britain can – and says it will – impose a transitional period restricting Turkish people from working here for many years from the start of their membership.

Mr Gove has also claimed that so many new EU migrants coming to Britain will put an intolerable strain on our NHS. 

That’s another scare story without any foundation. Apart from the fact that Mr Gove’s numbers are hopelessly wrong, EU migrants here are more likely to be treating patients than to be patients.

The Sunday Express has added to the climate of fear – by claiming today that 12 million Turkish people could be coming to the UK upon joining the EU.

Common sense is now needed to allay the fears stirred up by those who want Britain to leave the EU. And here is the common sense response – judge for yourself:

• The vast majority of EU migrants come to Britain to work. No work, and little reason to come or stay. 

• The vast majority of EU migrants settled in Britain are in work, paying taxes and making a significant contribution to the economy. Only a few take benefits.

• EU migrants are not a drain on the NHS. Most EU migrants are young and fit and proportionally make much less use of our NHS or Accident and Emergency services than the native population. 

• The NHS needs EU migrants, about 130,000 of whom work for the NHS and care homes as doctors, nurses and care workers.

• EU migrants in Britain represent only 5% of the population

• EU migrants cannot just come to Britain and claim benefits. Under EU rules, migrants cannot move to another EU country unless they can afford to do so.

• Britain has border controls, and under EU rules we can – and do – turn away EU migrants who pose a risk on grounds of security, criminality, health and the welfare of the nation.

• Britain currently has a record number of job vacancies, more than can be filled by the native population. That’s why we need migrants.

• Britain, however, will never have millions of new job vacancies. So why would millions more EU migrants move here if they cannot get work or state benefits? 

In the end, doesn’t common sense prevail?


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