Immigrants make vital contributions to British pensions and welfare benefits

Population study shows that without the essential part played by immigrant workers, our pensions and social service provisions would collapse.

Lalkar writers

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Since our economy is so dependent on migrant labour to stay afloat, why is so much fuss made about immigration?

Lalkar writers

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As the next general election looms into view over a very dark horizon, the backroom boys and girls of the British bourgeoisie’s political parties sit fashioning the various footballs to be used in staged games to put on a show for the voting public.

One of the biggest and seemingly most important balls to be kicked about is immigration, since this topic can be easioy used to weaponise the lingering race prejudices lurking in British society from the days when Britannia ruled the waves, casting the blame for all the ills of capitalism at immigration’s door.

But is it a problem in reality?

A giant machinery of distraction

We at Lalkar don’t believe immigration is the great problem that bourgeois politicians of all stripes would have us believe. In fact, the captains of industry (whatever industry is actually left in Britain) and the majority of those great and good personages haunting Westminster’s tea rooms, and occasionally even parking their sanctimonious backsides on the much-coveted green seats of supposed power, also understand that immigration is not some horror coming over the Channel in little boats to destroy our society.

When they say otherwise, they are lying.

It doesn’t take much thought to understand that if a country’s economy could not take a moderate influx of migrants they either would not come or would not stay very long. People whose situation is bad enough to make them drag their family around the world, and in the case of the so-called ‘illegal’ refugees using terribly dangerous modes of travel through wild lands and across wilder seas, are simply trying to give themselves and their families safety and security.

Regardless of the lies emanating from the disgusting news media in Britain, which reflect the disgusting bourgeois dictatorship that we live in, most refugees from wars, terror attacks or enforced poverty at the hands of western imperialism (including the British variety) and their puppets, are not heading only for Britain but anywhere that offers some level of safety.

If it were true that every immigrant wanted to come to Britain, can we really complain if the victims of the inhuman practices of our ruling class want to come here, following the stolen wealth of their lands?

Instead of complaining about refugees coming to Britain, it would surely be better to stop our rulers from savaging, bombing and ravaging other people’s lands to take their wealth away? We who live in the same land as the imperialist robbers and murderers are much better placed to rid the world of these parasites, and this is a duty that the British working class must shoulder at some point.

Returning to the topic of immigration in general, it should be understood that in Britain, as in much of the western world, the birth-rate has fallen dramatically over the last few decades. This is partly due to the poverty inflicted upon the working class as the welfare state is being dismantled and destroyed, along with indigenous industries, as the profits of the 0.1 percent who really run this country are under some pressure to keep expanding.

While the rich destroy our livelihoods and launch wars of spoliage and banditry upon less developed counties to try to keep their profit margins stable, many young working-class people in this country are postponing having families until later and later in life, and are having fewer children when they finally do have them

How welfare really works

It is generally accepted that for a society just to maintain its balance – ie, for the working class to produce, house, feed and clothe the next generation of workers to replace themselves, a minimum birthrate of 2.1 is necessary. In Britain, the fertility rate has fallen from 2.19 in 1950 (a time when we were crying out for west Indian workers to come here and man our buses and trains) to 1.85 in 1980 (when the government of the day under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership was destroying much of Britain’s productive industries). By 2021, the last date used by the most recent study published in the Lancet, the rate had fallen to 1.49.

Britain now has one of the lowest birth rates in western Europe. The Lancet study forecasts that that this decline will continue, with a possible drop to 1.38 by 2050 and lower still by the end of the present century. 

The study raises the question of how we care for an increasingly aging population with a dwindling working population, and, perhaps more importantly, how we pay for that care of the elderly without the tax payments that we would have received if the ratio of working people had remained the same or had increased?

There is another mistaken idea that permeates British working-class thinking alongside that of immigration being bad – and the two are linked. This is the belief of most workers that they have paid their taxes etc and that they have therefore secured the right to decent care in their old age.

Except, it is not their own care in old age they have paid for, and nor have they secured it!

A recent article in the Times that also looked at the immigration/birth rate report explained that the British welfare state is very much like a Ponzi scheme.

A Ponzi scheme involves fraudsters persuading a person to invest in order to obtain a very good return, say 20 percent. Unfortunately, this return is financed out of funds provided by future investors, not from any investment, direct or indirect, in production of new wealth. Eventually, new investors can’t be found, promised returns can’t be paid and so the whole scheme collapses.

Our welfare system is always in hock to the next layer of workers paying into it. The taxes we pay finance the needs of the current users, and when it is time to claim our own pensions, benefits or care, it is likewise those who are paying into the system at that time who will be financing us.

So if there are not enough people at that time (a) to do the work of looking after us, and (b) to pay into the state pot enough to finance that work, it will mean collapse of all those provisions for the majority of us.

Tory MP Miriam Cates correctly told the Times: “For too long western societies have viewed declining fertility rates as unremarkable or perhaps even desirable. But the reality of below-replacement fertility rates is that there are now too few babies being born to sustain our society, with not enough young people to enter the labour force, pay tax or care for the disproportionate number of elderly.

“What we are facing is not a one-off population contraction but a situation where every new generation is smaller than the last. We need to wake up to the fact that falling fertility rates are one of greatest threats to western nations and their economies.” (Falling birth rate to leave UK reliant on immigration until 2100 by Eleanor Hayward, 20 March 2024)

So if there aren’t enough young people, surely it makes sense to welcome immigrants?

Nearly all British politicians can see the necessity for immigration, as can anyone approaching old age – if the facts are explained to them. The constant stories of immigration control nightmares and declared calamities, meltdowns and upheavals resulting from an influx of migrants is just the bourgeois media’s backdrop to the election games that are played in Parliament to garner the votes of the gullible who eagerly swallow the bourgeois lies.

Foreign workers are not the enemy of British workers.

It is not just that we should have compassion for those people forced out of their homes to seek work far away from family and friends, and that we should want to help them. What we need to realise also is that instead of being left to rot in run-down seaside hotels, they, as fellow workers, could be deployed doing many of the urgent jobs that are currently simply being neglected – staffing hospitals, caring for the elderly and infirm, teaching in schools, repairing run-down public buildings, mending potholes, cleaning polluted rivers and beaches, etc, etc.

They are prevented from doing so because the interests of imperialism stand in the way. Imperialism is the enemy of us all, and we will only make real gains when we see who our enemy is and join hands with all other workers in the struggle to overthrow our masters and their obvious agents within our class.