THE VILLAGE SOAPBOX
Ron has a few things to say about pay in the Public Sector and Immigration.
In the good times people in the private sector are content to draw their high wages and have little sympathy for efforts by public sector workers to improve their lot. As soon as unemployment rises and redundancies hit the news, however, eyes are cast in the direction of the public sector. The arguments are that the public sector do not have to share the hardships, that they have greater job security, they have more secure and better pensions and that they are being supported by the poor old taxpayer. The claim is that they are not having to share the hard times.
There may be some truth in these arguments but there is a tendency to forget that the majority of people working in the public sector are in poorly paid jobs such as bin-men and clerks that have not shared in the good times. It is true that we have seen some very large salaries in the public sector, council Chief Officers receiving between £200,000 and £300,000. This is the result of following the private sector where Chief Executives have been paying themselves millions. It is all part of the appalling trend of widening the gap between top earners and the rest, between the chiefs and the indians. Those high salaries are no consolation to the indians who account for the majority in the public sector. Unfortunately also for the indians, the claim that they have better job security is something of a myth, they too can find themselves made redundant, but, perhaps because most of their work is essential to the running of society, the risk is lower.
Unlike in the private sector, those working for local government are rarely given a company car or help to buy a car. Their pensions are not generous, although they have paid 6% of their wages into their pension schemes. Now many have suddenly found that they are required to work a further five years before they can draw their pension. That not only means that they will lose five years of their pension but it also means they will have to pay contributions for a further five years. For many years employees in large companies often received more generous pensions than those in the public sector ever did. Times may have got harder for some in the private sector but the recession is also being felt in the public sector.
I have worked in both the public and the private sectors and one thing that I can say is that I enjoyed working in the private sector more.
I return to this old hobby horse because recent figures from the Office of National Statistics reveals that there has been an increase in our population over the last 20 years of 2.3 million due to immigration alone, without the increases due to higher birth rates and extended lives. Since 1950 I understand that there has been over 5 million immigrants that have stayed, the birth rates have tended to be higher among the immigrants so that the net contribution to the total population will have been in excess of six million, that is more than 10%. We are constantly sold the story that we need immigrants to do the jobs that the indigenous population does not want to do. The truth is that the immigrants are prepared to work for lower wages, lower in reality than the national minimum because employers find ways of deducting from their wages, and the UK natives do not want to work for such low sums. If we didn't have the immigrants the employers would pay the proper rate and UK nationals would do the work.
By employing immigrants to undertake very lowly paid work we are bringing in people who will not have sufficient income to meet life's costs or to save for their retirement so that sooner or later they are likely to add to the number of welfare dependants. We are constructing yet another time-bomb for our children to deal with.
Personally I believe that we have had far too many immigrants. The consequences are enormous, especially in urban areas where immigrants tend to congregate. There are problems of overcrowding, traffic congestion and pollution, along with demands for housing, schools, health care and policing (much of the knife crime and gun crime is attributable to immigrants and their offsprings). A London Borough Education Officer recently stated that, across London, in the last five years, there has been a staggering 20% increase in the demand for school places and that most of that increase has been in the last three years. These demands place a huge burden on the state such that I do not believe that immigration has brought any net financial benefit whatsoever. I believe that this influx of different ethnic groups is having a detrimental influence on the British way of life. Many areas have become alien enclaves where immigrants completely outnumber the original residents. I have known personally a number of people who felt that they were living in an alien community to the extent that they were forced to move away. I have been amazed and dismayed by the manner in which our successive governments have failed to deal with the problem of excessive immigration, yielding once again to the pressures from employers for short term benefits. I am equally surprised at the general attitude of acquiescence of the public at large. Most often those vociferous liberals who give their support to immigration are middle class in comfortable situations where immigrants do not have a significant impact on their way of life. Nobody (except perhaps a few extremists) would wish to take out their frustration with the Government on the immigrants, but there should be more pressure applied to the Government or matters will only get worse.
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
There are compensations for growing older. One is the realisation that to be sporting isn't at all necessary
Cornelia Otis Skinner, US actress and writer.