Polish Londoner

These are the thoughts and moods of a born Londoner who is proud of his Polish roots.

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"

Dear Sir,
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,
Yours faithfully,

Wiktor Moszczynski


  1. I am English photographer living in Manchester a city which now has a sizable Polish community. I believe the Poles have made a large contribution to the local economy both in labour and spending terms which is why I was dismayed following the riots in August when local residents attributed the rioters actions due to to "The Polish taking all our jobs". These comments were broadcast on SKY which has led me to produce a counter argument visually.
    My intention is to produce a body of photographic work which shall portray Manchester's Polish workers to be exhibited next year in the City Centre. The images shall convey the real story and not the sham often portrayed.
    Displayed alongside the images shall be text detailing the workers lives in Manchester (possibly the use of audio too) as a way to tell the story of the necessary act of reinvention as they track their new surroundings. The project shall show how they are forced to create a new way to live.
    I am currently speaking to members of the Polish community in Manchester who so far have all supported my intentions offering assistance. I would like though to use text within the project to help inform the viewer and wondered if this would be something you may contribute toward?
    I feel the addition of a written piece by yourself would add weight which I could not provide to the project.
    If this may be of interest to you I can be contacted at andymoseleyphotos@gmail.com