Miliband’s bold speech on integration


In a week in which immigration has been in the news, Ed Miliband has defied the moral panic with a surprisingly courageous and considered speech on the integration of new migrants; for once, it is an immigration speech that talks about real policy issues, and is not just designed to play to the concerns of the tabloid media, writes Jill Rutter

Ed-Miliband-integration-speech
Tuesday saw media frenzy about the latest Census 2011 release. This highlighted the growth of in the proportion of the population born overseas – it was 13 per cent in 2011 – a level predicted in the Annual Population Survey and that is comparable with most western European countries.

Yesterday, home secretary Theresa May, in a speech at Policy Exchange, (LINK 2) engaged in the usual immigration firefighting. She made some concessions in relation to student migration, while promising more rigorous checks on would-be students from high risk countries. In future, some MBA and PhD graduates from outside the EU will be allowed to stay on after their courses have finished.

May also promised tougher checks on would-be students, but failed to address how the UK Border Agency or Foreign Office consular services will deliver these checks, when staffing levels have been severely cut.

Generally, dealing with one border control issue generally takes away UK Border Agency resources from elsewhere – for example, asylum determination or the removal of foreign national prisoners – and leads to high profile operational disasters that play so badly with public opinion (pdf). There is surprisingly little debate about how much we want or need to spend on border control.

Ed Miliband could have continued with the immigration firefighting. Instead he chose to address an equally important immigration concern: integration – what happens to migrants after they arrive in the UK.

Integration is a crucial issue, for migrants themselves and the communities that receive them. And the failures of migrant integration – unemployment, educational under-achievement and social segregation – also have the potential to be costly to the public purse and exacerbate negative public perceptions about migrants.

Many migrants integrate successfully, into the workplace, in their new neighbourhoods, and their children make good progress at school. Other migrant groups are less successful and there is considerable variation (pdf) in the economic and social aspects of integration within migrant groups.

The employment rate among some refugee groups and those who have come through family migration routes (as spouses) tends to be lower, with Labour Force Survey data suggesting just 20 per cent of those born in Somalia were in work in the last quarter of 2011.

Being in work supports integration, as the workplace is a space where migrants meet and mix with those from outside their community. But there is considerable occupational segregation in parts of the UK economy – in the health and social care sectors, catering, and food processing, in particular.

The causes of occupational segregation are complex, a view supported by a recent statutory inquiry (pdf) of the Equality and Human Rights Commission into meat processing. This found preferential treatment of migrants by a small number of employers and recruitment agencies. However, the inquiry also found the low wages of the sector – sometimes below the National Minimum Wage – and unpleasant working conditions deterred UK-born workers.

The inquiry stressed the importance of upholding employment rights such as the National Minimum Wage for all in the meat processing sector. This would benefit migrants, but it may also result in making meat processing a more attractive form of employment to UK -born workers, decreasing ethnic segregation in this sector and enabling the workplace to be a site of integration.

Nearly 12 months ago, the government published Creating the Conditions for Integration (pdf), its own strategy paper on this issue. This slim document placed responsibility for integration solely on local government and had no coordinated programme of work is attached to it. Crucially, too, there were many omissions, with no mention of how the Work Programme might improve employment rates, or how the government might tackle occupational segregation.

The Miliband speech promises a comprehensive national integration strategy. It addressed occupational segregation and also the residential segregation seen in some inner city areas. New migrants to the UK are overwhelmingly housed in the private rental sector, with some inner city areas now dormitories for migrant workers (and UK students).

Private rental accommodation is usually characterised by insecure tenure and it can be squalid, overcrowded and unsafe. Miliband promises stronger regulation of the private rental sector, a move that would benefit both newcomers and UK nationals alike.

Securing the integration of new migrants is a difficult task for all governments. There are no quick and easy solutions. Integration also requires the long-term commitment of many different government departments and effective inter-departmental coordination has always been weak on this issue.

Perhaps the most important theme raised in the Miliband speech was his desire to acknowledge past failures and to discuss and prioritise this neglected issue.

Jill Rutter writes on migration issues and through IPPR will be publishing a paper on integration in February 2013.

See also:

Time to talk about integrationMarch 6th, 2012

There’s no magic bullet to encourage integrationFebruary 27th, 2012

Pre-entry English tests are unfair, impractical and potentially discriminatoryJuly 28th, 2011

This entry was posted in A Britain We All Call Home and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
  • Selohesra

    Whilst admitting mistakes when in power he singular failed to appologise for Labour’s tactic of labelling anyone who dared question their policies as racist.

  • Patrick

    This is Labour’s way of trying to smooth over the embarrassing Census statistics, which confirmed what everyone already knew: that parts of this country are
    grossly overpopulated, and it mainly arose over Labours time in office, and it’s mainly down to immigration. The reason he doesn’t ‘continue with immigration firefighting’ is because he can’t argue with the statistics. The truth is out, and Labour have to concede it. That’s why he’s trying to switch the focus from the levels under Labour to how they should become integrated.

    But Is is nothing to do with race.

    It doesn’t matter whether the people are coming from India, Australia, France, Or Poland. The are simply too many people coming here.

    Most immigrants settle in London. Result? Population has grown by 12% in ten years.

  • Patrick

    This is Labour’s way of trying to smooth over the embarrassing Census statistics, which confirmed what everyone already knew: that parts of this country are
    grossly overpopulated, and it mainly arose over Labours time in office, and it’s mainly down to immigration. The reason he doesn’t ‘continue with immigration firefighting’ is because he can’t argue with the statistics. The truth is out, and Labour have to concede it. That’s why he’s trying to switch the focus from the levels under Labour to how they should become integrated.

    But Is is nothing to do with race.

    It doesn’t matter whether the people are coming from India, Australia, France, Or Poland. The are simply too many people coming here.

    Most immigrants settle in London. Result? Population has grown by 12% in ten years.

  • Patrick

    This is Labour’s way of trying to smooth over the embarrassing Census statistics, which confirmed what everyone already knew: that parts of this country are
    grossly overpopulated, and it mainly arose over Labours time in office, and it’s mainly down to immigration. The reason he doesn’t ‘continue with immigration firefighting’ is because he can’t argue with the statistics. The truth is out, and Labour have to concede it. That’s why he’s trying to switch the focus from the levels under Labour to how they should become integrated.

    But Is is nothing to do with race.

    It doesn’t matter whether the people are coming from India, Australia, France, Or Poland. The are simply too many people coming here.

    Most immigrants settle in London. Result? Population has grown by 12% in ten years.

  • Patrick

    You only have to read some of the posts here to be met with accusations of racism. It is the classic Left wing smear tactic to close down debate. In my experience, the people who use that tactic are rarely from ethnic minorities, or immigrants, but are usually white, and middle class. They spend their time in a kind of sanctimonious hand-wringing over the human rights of people they know little about. If you scratched beneath the surface and found out how much time they spend in the company of ethnic minorities you would find that it’s very little. For them it’s the intellectual pose of appearing tolerant and ‘inclusive’ that’s important -because it lends them a sort of credibility and approval amongst similar people. I knew many people like this at university -it’s mainly just pretension. In the student union, its a lot of speak about equality for black people, later that night these same people would fear mugging if they saw a group of black men on the street.

  • Newsbot9

    Ah right, so you need to purge the high earners first, and to stop paying students coming in. Good plan. Next up, the next step in your war on Britain!

    Labour should “concede” that the economy was fine before the crisis? Why yes, it was. The issue of housing is the only place where they failed, and it seems they have conceded there that they did fail, given the statement about regulating the private rental sector.

    Also important, of course, is that your far right are cracked down on sharply, so minorities can spread out rather than needing to live together for protection.

  • Newsbot9

    No, I call you a racist because you ARE a racist and an anti-Semite. You’re the collectivist, blaming Labour for everything, not me.

  • Newsbot9

    No, I call you a racist because you ARE a racist. You’re the collectivist, blaming Labour for everything, not me.

    I am from a minority, myself, and you are trying to make it seem as if your hatred is mainstream. You are not scratching, you’re slashing with that knife, inflicting wounds on this country in your Jihad against it.

    As usual, you spit on anyone who’s different, and you are a segregationist who is trying to raise the old barriers of race…and of course the others like sex and age with it.

  • Selohesra

    I’m neither racist nor anti-semite – but you are clearly a nutter

  • Newsbot9

    That’s right, you’re now denying outright Fachist statements like the NSDAP being left wing, which you’ve made. You’re a liar and a far right fanatic.

    And, of course, a social darwinist – you accuse people who disagree with you of mental illness so you can try to brush them aside, a totalitarian policy quite in line with your other views, since you can’t admit that adults can hold different views without being mentally ill.

  • Ronald

    Well, ignoring your blithe assumption that anyone other than yourself feels Labour has anything to be embarrased about regarding the Census statistics, and your equally bigoted response about the countries ability to house it’s population, I wonder why you’ve bothered to post here? Surely your post was meant for the Right Foot Backwards website?

  • Selohesra

    Ah the National Socialist German Workers Party – I dont think it Facist to point out their left wing traits. A lot of similarities with Stalin or are you going to call him right wing. Perhaps you are simply parroting the BBC meme of Left = Good , Right = Bad

  • Patrick

    Can you explain exactly how mentioning overpopulation in London is bigoted?

  • Patrick

    Hahaha, I think I’ve touched a nerve with that one! I know you hang out in Student Unions.

  • Newsbot9

    Nope, your fantasies remain your fantasies. Keep on scoring “points” in your head. I teach at Universities, not hang out in Student Unions.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, you keep talking up *your* right wing traits of hatred and destruction. And no, I’m not a Commie, or indeed unlike you a collectivist…

  • Patrick

    But you like making assumptions about everyone else here. Over the last few months you’ve accused me of being a rascist, being wealthy, avoiding tax, sheltering money overseas, owning a company, exploiting workers. These are fantasies. But they fit in with your black and white view of the world, where everyone is either a right-thinking socialist or an evil, robber baron scumbag. What you cannot seem to grasp is that there are ordinary men and women in this county, people on average incomes, with unremarkable lives, who simply don’t believe in socialism. I am one of those people. Its as simple as that.

  • Newsbot9

    Accusations? You have expressed racist and 1%er views. (And no, I don’t differentiate between 1%er and Quisling, it’s a meaningless difference)

    You’re the one who is dividing the world into “people like me” and “everyone else”, I’m quite willing to enter into debate with people who are not name-changing trolls and fanatics.

    There are plenty of ordinary people, but your radical far right views mean you have set yourself against them, lying to try to make your fanaticism seem acceptable is pathetic.

    I am not a socialist myself, so your ranting is usual tilting at windmills, and burning straw men who are…not straw at all.

  • Patrick

    Who else do you think I pretend to be on this site then?

  • Newsbot9

    It’s been caused in part by race hate causing migration from other parts of the UK.

  • Selohesra

    He thinks you are me – struggles with reality when he’s had a few sherbets in the polytechnic bar

  • Selohesra

    He thinks you are me – struggles with reality when he’s had a few sherbets in the polytechnic bar

  • Selohesra

    He thinks you are me – struggles with reality when he’s had a few sherbets in the polytechnic bar

  • Patrick

    Quote the source for that statement.

  • Newsbot9

    Searchlight

  • Patrick

    Are you really stating that the reason the population of London grew by 12% in ten years was not down to the 3 million increase in population during that time, but due to people moving from other parts of the the UK?

  • Newsbot9

    Your question is mangled, please re-state it logically.

  • Newsbot9

    Nope, that’s your contention again. You make up lies to justify your bigotry and hatred. I’m not going to bother to check back to all the names a troll’s used, it’s a typical failed argument because he can’t argue with the inconvenient facts like my not being a socialist!

    And once more, I’m not you, I don’t have an alcohol abuse problem! (Or indeed drink much at all)

  • gewrgt

    “I’m quite willing to enter into debate with people who are not name-changing trolls and fanatics.”

    your parents must have been having a laugh when they christened you Newsbot9! haha!

  • wervgfwreg

    but everything shit about this country was done by Labour. what is anti-semitic or collectivist about stating that fact? Jewish people in Britain overwhelmingly support Labour. that makes them c#nts. but it’s not that they are Jewish but that they support Labour that makes them so.

  • Newsbot9

    It’s bluntly stupid, blaming the other for everything as usual – and that’s your current excuse, is it? It’s typically collectivist reasoning…

  • Newsbot9

    Ah yes, and I’m sure you, “gewrgt”, signed the forms to change your name yourself.

  • YouGov Tracker

  • Touchstone Economic Tracker

  • Best of the web

  • Archive

7ads6x98y