Friday, July 08, 2016

Inequality is the problem - not immigration

The underlying reason for worsening health and declining living standards in Britain is not immigration but ever-growing economic inequality and the public spending cuts that have accompanied austerity, argues an expert in The British Medical Journal.

Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, says, in contrast to other European states, "the UK has been systematically underfunding education and training, increasing student loans and debt, tolerating increasingly unaffordable housing, introducing insecure work contracts, and privatising the services the young will need in future." He argues that the UK has benefited greatly from the immigration of healthier than average young adults, educated at someone else's expense; many of whom work in our health, educational, social, and care services. "Their arrival reduced heath inequalities and improved our overall health," he writes.

He points out that data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there had been 52,400 more deaths in the year to June 2015 compared with the year to June 2014 in the UK. Austerity had a major role, he says, with people who had long term care needs dying earlier. And he warns that the health and social services crises "will deepen as national finances deteriorate and as it becomes harder to recruit and retain staff from the European mainland." 

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