I read with interest the letter from Mr Hoskin about immigration, (Northumberland Gazette, July 28).
In it, Mr Hoskin comments on a letter of mine, which had appeared the week before, and I feel a response is merited.
Regarding the willingness of working people, migrants or natives, to fund the benefits of people of a different ethnicity, it is worth reflecting that complex welfare systems such as exist in most European countries tend not to arise in multi-ethnic societies, such as the USA.
Indeed, there is a strong antipathy in the latter country to what are seen as ‘socialistic’ arrangements.
Two distinguished Harvard economists have shown that a very large part of this antipathy arises out of that country’s ethnic diversity.
It does seem to be the case that our Government is having increasing difficulty in raising sufficient money through taxation to fund the welfare and health systems.
The assertion that ‘migrants make a net contribution to the UK’ in terms of taxes, etc, rests upon certain assumptions, which have been contested.
As regards the NHS, its dependence on foreign man (and woman) power is simply a reflection of the way it is funded. For the first 10 years or so of its existence the NHS employed hardly any non-native staff.
I would agree, however, that it would be odd if anyone working for and being paid by the NHS were to be influenced by a patient’s ethnicity.
I always experience feelings of suspicion when I encounter the word ‘need’.
All policy decisions have both beneficial and harmful consequences.
As to whether large-scale immigration is to the benefit of this country, this is too large a subject to be discussed in your columns and I refer, as when I last wrote, to Christopher Caldwell’s book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.