I wasn’t very impressed with the Radio 4 Today programme wheeling out Jonathan Portes, Director, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, this morning essentially to spike David Cameron’s guns before his speech today on making it plain to immigrants that they can’t expect to get something for nothing if they come here.
Essentially Portes said that the average immigrant was less likely to be on out of work benefits than the average person who was here already. That may be true but Portes was being disingenuous. My city, London, is full of capable, talented immigrants and they are very welcome. One of them is my American wife. If they help us to fix our economy that is fine by me. But, we cannot afford any more people in this country who think that work isn’t for them. Ian Duncan Smith has been leading efforts to ensure that work pays and that people will always be better off working than being on benefits. We can’t afford to import more people who are essentially content to be dependent even if on average immigrants are less dependent than the settled community.
The big picture is that our state will spend about £720 billion next year, but income will only be £612 billion leaving a deficit of £108 billion. The biggest slice of spending is social spending at £220 billion. Cameron is focusing on the right priority and Portes is missing the point.