Nick Boles proposes that non-EU migrants pay a surety deposit, that some EU migrants should be told to leave Britain, and that no immigrants should be eligible for social housing until five years after arrival
By Paul Goodman
Few MPs write blogs. Of those that do, John Redwood's is probably the best. Few also find the time to read books carefully. Redwood is reviewing Nick Boles's new book “Which Way’s Up"?, and has unearthed some bold new proposals about immigration.
Redwood writes -
"[Boles] takes the argument often used by the left that societies like Sweden and Japan are happier ones because they have greater income equality. He suggest instead that these societies are happier because they are more homogeneous, allowing far less inward migration than the UK has experienced in recent years.
Warming to his theme, he devotes a whole chapter to making a series of very radical and contentious proposals on immigration. His critique states that 70% of the new jobs have gone to workers born overseas since 1997. He says:
“We will not be able to sustain a social contract in which schooling and healthcare are provided to all citizens free of charge and are funded by taxation if we continue to allow, every year, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to join the queues at A and E and send their children to British schools. Nor can we sit back while eight million British citizens of working age are either shun or shut out from all forms of useful economic activity because employers can find migrant workers who will accept subsidence wages to do menial jobs.”
Redwood continues -
There is a raw edge and anger in his language, backed by figures higher than the official ones. His remedies are equally contentious:
“Britain needs a new immigration settlement, involving tighter controls on the number of people who can move into the UK every year (from both inside and outside the EU), greater selectiveness about who is allowed to settle here, tougher financial demands on new immigrants and those who want to employ them, more robust measures to remove those who break our laws, and more intensive efforts to ensure that all those who do settle in Britain adopt British values and become part of a truly United Kingdom.”
Redwood then sums up what in his view are Boles's main immigration policy proposals -
"1. A cap on the numbers of non EU migrants each year of up to 20,000 to 50,000 – putting a number on stated Coalition policy.
2. Requiring a surety deposit from all non EU migrants. This would be repaid after they had paid taxes here for a number of years, or forfeited if they committed an offence or lived here without paying income tax.
3. For EU migrants the UK should enforce the Directive which only requires a member state to allow free movement for the purpose of residence supported by work income or independent means. “Whenever a migrant from within the EU applies to a central or local government authority for benefits or housing or part of the NHS for non emergency healthcare, that authority should be required to check whether the individual in question has a job or sufficient funds to support themselves in the Uk. If they don’t, they should be told to leave the country…”
4. No-one should be eligible for social housing until they lived here for five years."
I've been struck by how quiet the right of the Conservative Parliamentary Party was during the summer. Some Liberal Democrat MPs have been very noisy about matters they care about - social housing, VAT, Trident. But few Conservative MPs have been trying to make the running on some of the issues they care about - such as crime, the EU, and immigration.
Prominent Liberal Democrats have been making their case against an immigration cap (Vince Cable not least). I'm curious to know how many fringe meetings will take place during the coming Conservative conference at which the counter-argument will be put. Boles is by no means a man of the traditional right (for example, he recently argued the case for a Conservative/Liberal Democrat electoral pact).
But he's making a strong case which will go down well with them, and elsewhere. Redwood has amplified it. It'll be interesting to see whether it's heard next week in Birmingham, and what the Home Secretary will say on the matter.