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27 August 2015

Higher immigration is a success story, not a nightmare

Immigration is good news for Britain and for London. As Mayor, I'll defend it, promises Diane Abbott. 

By Diane Abbott

David Cameron’s net migration target has been exposed as a stupid, reactionary and unworkable policy. And the furore over the failure to meet his own policy aim is entirely fake. It is classic scapegoating tactics, being used to distract people from the effects of government spending cuts, such as the crisis in the NHS and the increasing unaffordability of housing.

The new record of 330,000 people is a high for net migration. This is not a disaster, far from it. There is a benefit from migration in a series of areas; economically, socially and culturally. So, we should follow the German and Swedish models of welcoming migration as a key to our future prosperity.

As a candidate to be selected as Labour’s mayor for London, I welcome the growing population of London, as well as its increased energy and diversity. It’s one of the things that make London great. As the anti-austerity candidate in this race I also recognise that it is also necessary to fight for the homes, schools and NHS capacity we need to make it a great city for all.”

Instead there is an entirely fake clamour which has been generated over the inevitable failure of the Tories to meet their reactionary net migration target. All the Tories have to offer is cuts. Labour needs to offer an alternative.

Immigration helped to build London as the great city it is. I make this pledge now and if selected to be Labour’s candidate: I will reject all criticism of rising net migration and I welcome London’s growing population and diversity.

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I hope all other candidates will do the same. We need to stand together and stand up to the Tory efforts to pin their own economic failures on immigrants who make a great contribution to our economy, our cultural diversity and the richness of our society. The immigration mugs of the last election were a disaster, and should never be repeated.

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We need to counter the myths on migration. The majority of all international migration to Britain comes to London. Official data shows that the most recent year 201,000 international migrants came to London. Yet wages in London are the highest in Britain, about 50 per cent higher than the rest of the country. It is clearly a myth that immigration drives down wages. It is also estimated that migrants to Britain make an estimated £20bn annual contribution towards government finances.

This is in addition to the huge social and cultural contributions that immigrants have always made and continue to make.  When migrants come to Britain they are mainly coming to London. They help make it the great city it is. I will always defend and promote that.