Saturday, 23 July 2011
Letter to the "Daily Mail" (again)
Polish Shop in W. London (published in "Daily Mail")
To the Editor of "Daily Mail"
Your page 2 headline on 23rd July - "Poles are sending home £3bn a year - and we pay them £4.5m a week in benefits" is misleading to your readers because it confronts an official Polish statistic with a vague estimate of those unemployed.
While Polish estimates on the amount of funds transferred to Poland are undoubtedly accurate, Polish records on the number of Poles unemployed in the UK is based on secondary less reliable evidence and certainly does not indicate how many Poles are receiving job seekers allowance in the UK. Let us remember that any UK benefit, other than child benefit, will only be paid to EU citizens that have already worked in this country and can prove their "Habitual Residence" in the UK.
In fact the article shows only part of the picture with regard to the Polish population in this country. Let us remember that hard-working Polish families pay income tax, council tax and national insurance in this country. In my 2008 report to Parliament I recorded that "according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research the Polish workforce contributed £12bn to the British economy in the years 2004 to 2006". I also estimated that Poles had contributed £1.9bn a year to the British exchequer. I see no reason why those figures should be different today,
At a time when Britain's population is rightly acutely concerned over the future for their jobs and their families' prosperity, it is important that their frustration and anger is not channeled against blameless victims by misleading statistics. Under the UK's international treaty obligations Poles in this country are doing nothing illegal by working here, paying taxes here and supporting their poorer relatives back home. They may be Polish citizens but they are also British taxpayers who share the pain and burden of the present UK economy with their British and other EU citizens in this country,