Iain Duncan Smith, Pensions Secretary for the Conservatives, has said E.U immigrants who are receiving a state education in Britain “literally change the schooling because so many people arrive not speaking English” during an interview with Radio 5 live.
He explained his concern came primarily from the thought that such migrants will eventually get “older” and also start “taking from the state” in pensions after straining public school funds. As well as asserting his feeling that the E.U community cause “problems with local services, transport all that kind of stuff”, he went on to rebuff a recent report conducted by researchers at the prestigious University College London that showed E.U immigrants actually provide a net worth of £20 billion to the country in taxes, with the claims in benefits taken into account: it was “a silly report” said Smith, “oh look in tax terms they have contributed more – first of all you have to take them all the way through to when they get older.”
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, corroborated the sentiment when he said schools being “faced with an influx of children from other countries need the resources and capacity to deal with it and if those resources aren’t there, that’s a big issue for government.” Last week the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also leant towards putting pressure on Brussels to fund the costs of building new schools if they were needed for migrants who were crossing open borders. The unfaltering Pensions Secretary added “Europe as a whole needs to tackle this because when all the GDPs of the various economies were about the same then the freedom of movement really was a fairly balanced process, once the economies are not the same you get big difficulties, so he is simply warning what the Germans already know privately and have said to me – they need to sort this problem out."
Previous Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major has more flatly suggested a “temporary” limit being placed on E.U immigration that does not infringe on the rules of free movement as a “pragmatic” approach.
The heated discussion about state education comes amongst other immigration controversies such as Michael Fallon, the defence minister, using inflammatory language when he said that British towns were being “swamped” and taken “under siege” by immigrants. The debate goes on.