Funds are being directed towards policing immigrants rather than supporting communities
At Tory Conference earlier this year, Home Secretary Amber Rudd pledged to create a ‘controlling migration fund – designed specifically to ease the pressures on public services in areas of high migration.’
However, a new TUC report shows that the fund is nowhere near adequate, as all English local authorities will have just £25m a year to split between them.
This is equivalent to 0.02 per cent of local authority budgets or — as TUC general secretary Frances O’ Grady described it — ‘ministerial small change’.
The TUC has called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to ‘at least double the £140m pledge’ in the autumn statement, and to give greater control to communities themselves.
Commenting on the report, O’Grady said:
“EU migrants pay £2 billion more in tax than they take out. It’s only fair that communities across England get to feel the benefits of that extra cash through a properly-resourced Migration Impacts Fund.
“The cash has to be controlled by local people so that it is spent where it’s really needed – dealing with pressure on schools and hospitals, stopping bad bosses undercutting local labour markets, and funding English classes.
“We all want to live in strong communities where people get along and everyone gets a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work. At the autumn statement, the chancellor has to announce proper funding to help local communities manage the impacts of migration better.”
Following the vote to leave the EU, and recognising working peoples’ concerns about immigration, the TUC has been working to develop a left-wing migration strategy.
A migrant impact fund, like the one introduced by Gordon Brown and scrapped by David Cameron, is a key plank of that strategy. However, the TUC has argued that the fund should be considerably larger than it was under Brown, and that local communities should have a greater say in how it’s used.
Its uses could include:
- Extra cash for schools, hospitals and other public-facing services in places where migration has pushed up demand
- Fighting workplace exploitation by bad bosses, which undercuts local labour markets
- Tackling rogue landlords and building homes
- Funding ESOL English language classes
- Training local people to fill skills gaps, so employers don’t have to look abroad for workers
However, instead of following the union’s guidance, Rudd announced a pathetically small central government contribution, rebranded as a ‘controlling migration fund’.
Over the course of the parliament, £40m of the £140m fund will be directed to immigration enforcement activities.
In other words, the Tory proposal is not intended to bolster public services or build community cohesion, but rather to police and stigmatise migrants.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.