It is no secret that a public spending crunch is on the way.Oh, the wailing and gnashing of the perfectly-capped teeth! Oh, the rending of the Fairtrade ethnically-styled garments! Crisis in progressive land!
And it seems one target for cuts has already been identified: asylum-seekers' benefits. As we report today, the UK Border Agency proposes to reduce the weekly subsistence payments to those waiting for a verdict on their asylum application from £42.16 to £35.13.
That asylum-seekers would be the first to suffer as a result of spending cuts was depressingly predictable. Refugees cannot vote and are widely resented. They represent just about the softest target around.All the talk from the politicians so far has been about ‘sharing the pain’ and other such platitudes. Now, I don’t see how they can then say ‘But not these people, who we still haven’t decided to allow to live here – they are sacrosanct’.
Because, as they rightly surmise, it’ll go down like a cold cup of sick with the long-suffering public.
Hitting asylum-seekers might be politically convenient, but it is certainly not morally right.But it’s ‘morally right’ to make the people who have paid their taxes all their lives carry on paying over the odds instead? Strange ‘morals’ these progressives have…
These cuts will also compound the cruelty of a system which prevents asylum-seekers from working while their claims are being processed. Many have impressive professional skills. Among their ranks are thousands of qualified doctors, teachers, scientists and engineers. This should be no surprise. It is often the well-educated who become targets for persecution in repressive or chaotic regimes. The loss for these countries ought to be Britain's gain.So, we should not only let them into the country and ensure they are cushioned from the economic reality of the recession (unlike everyone else here), but we should let them compete in the job market against residents all before we’ve decided whether or not their claim is legitimate?
Does no-one else see the potential problems ahead with that approach?
But no, it’s all about how mean and uncharitable and racist the UK public are:
Some ugly social forces have been resurgent since this recession began. There have been protests by oil refinery workers who complain of being undercut by cheaper foreign labour. No evidence has been produced to back this claim up, but that has not dampened the ire of the protesters. Political extremism has enjoyed a boost too. The British National Party, which has long demonised asylum-seekers, won enough votes in last month's European elections to send representatives, for the first time, to Brussels.And I can only assume that the ‘Independent’ wants to earn them yet more votes, by suggesting that, instead of dramatically speeding up the asylum hearings as a solution, we allow newly-arrived asylum seekers to enter the job market while the authorities process their claims.
Because as we all know, that’s sometimes an interminably long process.
This rising hostility to foreigners provides an unpromising context for reform of the asylum system. After their failure to enact humane change in the boom years, it is hard to see ministers cutting asylum-seekers a break in today's volatile climate.That’s because Ministers, unlike the idiots running ‘progressive’, left-leaning newspapers like the ‘Independent’, can see the way the wind is blowing, and how the mood is changing…
Of course, to such cretins, that just means the government must try harder to convince the people who pay for all this that it is their duty to do so, in order to make those cretins feel good about themselves:
Yet the Government should be braver and more imaginative. Ministers ought to challenge the myth that foreigners are doing native Britons out of jobs. And they should recognise that allowing asylum-seekers to work can drain some of the public resentment towards them.Really? That’s rather optimistic..
This reform would also make financial sense from the Government's perspective. The increase in taxation this reform would generate – even at a time of rising joblessness and recession – would surely dwarf any meagre savings to be made from reducing the asylum benefits budget.The increase in taxation this would generate wouldn’t be at all offset by the increase in benefits you’d have to pay to ‘native Britons’ who didn’t get the jobs taken by the asylum-seekers, I suppose?
And when, after how many months God only knows, their asylum claim is disallowed, you’ll have no problems in persuading them to leave? Leaving the company that employed them the job of recruiting and training up yet another person?
That’s not going to have any financial drawbacks for the economy?
The Government rightly argues that we need to grow – not cut – our way out of recession. Let it live up to this conviction by releasing the full potential of asylum-seekers.Or by speeding up their asylum claims so we can spend even less on their benefits over the course of their stay here.