LETTER: ‘A little compassion and altruism towards refugees now, will enable us to reap a rich harvest later’

It is with an overwhelming sense of disgust and dismay that I read how the main stream media has covered the unfolding human tragedy of the refugee crisis in Europe. It is nothing less than callous, hysterical scare mongering that panders to ignorance and prejudice.

Laying aside the common human decency and compassion that this country is supposedly renowned and respected for, let’s instead ask ourselves a question? What’s in it for Britain?

The idea that refugees (or, incidently, immigrants, Home Secretary) are an economic burden is a myth. On the contrary the historical evidence suggests quite the opposite. After the initial outlay in housing and feeding these desperate and traumatised people, there is ample evidence indicating that in the long-run refugees end up contributing disproportionately to their new countries growth and living standards.

From the French protestant Huguenots in the 17th Century (master weavers) to the German Jews in the 1940s, the arrival and settlement of refugees has enriched our society both culturally and economically. An outstanding example of this are the 40,000 Ugandan Asians given refuge here after Idi Amin expelled them in the 1970s.

These refugees were largely well educated, well skilled and often risk taking entrepreneurs. They opened shops restaurants and other small businesses. They manned our hospitals, transport systems and other public services. They made the most of the opportunities that Britain afforded them, sent their children to university, worked hard and paid their taxes.


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They were not lured here by “generous” welfare benefits. If anything the lure was the opportunity to work, to provide for their families, to get a decent home and put food on the table.

As with the Ugandan Asians so with the Syrian (and other) refugees. The benefits to us all are manifold, especially considering the European demographic time bomb ticking away.

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A little compassion and altruism now, will enable us to reap a rich harvest in the future.

SIMON HARRIMAN

Southwell Close,

March

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