Statement from Action for ESOL on Miliband’s Speech
As ESOL teachers, students and supporters we feel the impact of every Government’s immigration agenda. We oppose the division of workers and celebrate diversity. Across the UK, ordinary people, whatever their backgrounds, are facing the same attacks on their living conditions. We are proud of the diversity which is modern Britain. To confront the problems we all face, multi-culturalism, tolerance and mutual respect are indispensable.David Cameron’s attack on multi-culturalism and accusation that migrants refuse to integrate and learn English was a blatant attempt to divide the opposition to the government’s austerity program. There is no lack of will to learn English as the long waiting lists clearly show; there is a lack of affordable classes though.
It is appalling that the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, chose, in his recent speech, to try to identify immigrants as a cause of lack of housing, lack of jobs and low wages. There is no evidence to suggest that immigrants are to blame for these social problems. In fact, all the evidence shows that:
· Migrants pay £2.5 billion more in taxes than they receive through public services such as the NHS.
·Migrants are less likely to receive welfare or live in social housing than those born in the UK.
· Asylum seekers do not jump the queue for council housing, they cannot choose where they live.We condemn Miliband’s statement, particularly at a time when maximum unity is essential in order to defend decent homes, jobs, and public services for all.