Creating policies on refugees and migration that work for Britain
By Tony Clayton
This is an important question, and the media often mixes up two completely separate issues. Refugees and migrants are different. Far right agitators in Europe, and UKIP here, have deliberately confused them. That's a dangerous thing to do.
The refugee system isn't designed to benefit any government or country, but to help people fleeing war and persecution. It's about protection for individuals - as citizens of the world.
We should be proud that local people here in Sevenoaks forced our Council to change its 'do-nothing ' policy on Syrian refugees, and have welcomed families into our community
We should be less proud that Sevenoaks has so far welcomed less than 15 refugees, and Sevenoaks District Council seems to be backpedalling. Ashford has found homes for 200, and our twin town in Germany has welcomed 600.
Migration policy is a two way street, about our rights to live, learn and work outside the UK and other people's rights here in Britain. It's about people and their abilty to make the most of life, and to contribute to society and the economy. Most people understand this.
Polls show 70% of the British public support the EU system of free movement to work, study and live. They understand it has huge economic gains, helps businesses large and small, and safeguards families whose members work across borders
Most countries in Europe apply the policy, with safeguards to prevent abuse and ensure people contribute before they take out of the system. Successive British governments have been unable or unwilling to do this, to apply the free movement system as defined in EU law
Unless government gets its act together, we'll be poorer and more isolated if Brexit happens. And our health and care services, along with agriculture and other sectors, will be in more trouble than they are already.