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New Labour repeats racists’ lies…and it’s the far right who gain

This article is over 20 years, 1 months old
Blunkett thinks that newcomers are 'swamping' our public services... Blair wants harsher laws against those fleeing war... Hain thinks Muslims bring attacks on themselves
Issue 1801

NEW LABOUR ministers are repeating the lies of the racists and the far right. They say there are too many refugees and immigrants in Britain. But the numbers applying for asylum last year amounted to a minuscule 0.12 percent of the population.

There are enough homes standing empty to house ten times as many people. Politicians’ and media lies mean a majority of people now think one in five people are descended from ethnic minorities who arrived in the last 50 years, according to a poll last week. The real figure is one in 12.

Home Office research this year estimated that migrants contributed £31.2 billion in taxes in the financial year 1999-2000, but only increased government expenditure by £28.8 billion in ‘consuming’ public services. It concluded, ‘Migrants reduced the amount that the existing population paid in taxes’ by ‘around 1p on the basic rate of income tax’. Why aren’t New Labour ministers trumpeting this message?

Home secretary David Blunkett talks of refugees ‘swamping’ schools and services. Refugee children enrich our schools rather than being a burden. When they finish school they will have skills, and many will speak several languages-which can benefit the whole of society. Already public services like the NHS and transport depend on people who have come here.

New Labour minister Peter Hain blames the victims of racism, saying they are ‘isolating’ themselves and are therefore responsible for becoming ‘targets’.

Every study shows that the vast majority of people want to mix. Official policies and racism divide people. New Labour ministers claim they are taking on racism. By pandering to racism and repeating racist lies they only strengthen racists and the far right.

All the while they refuse to focus on the issues hitting people in Britain-job insecurity, lack of affordable housing, rotten transport, and an underfunded NHS and education system.

Socialist Worker says we should stand firm against racism, challenge scapegoating lies, and build a fight to tackle the real problems that people face.

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