Friday, October 15, 2010

Decade-long immigration boom means Britain needs 550,000 extra school places by 2016

Britain will need 550,000 more school places by 2016 to educate the children of immigrants, a study claimed last night. And over the next decade this will rise to one million extra places – at a total cost of about £100billion.

The Migrationwatch report blames the aftermath of Labour’s ‘open door’ immigration policy. Last year, providing schooling to the children of people born overseas cost £4.5billion – the equivalent of almost £13million every day – according to the pressure group. Its analysis is based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, and includes children who have arrived in the UK from overseas, and those born in Britain to migrant parents.

It comes at a time when primary school places are in huge demand, and the Government is attempting to slash between £7 billion and £14 billion from the education budget.

Migrationwatch said that between 1998 and 2009 – the years in which critics say Labour’s open door immigration policy operated – the number of school places required by the children of immigrants was almost 630,000.

By analysing ONS population projections, Migrationwatch also concluded that over the next ten years one million more school places will be needed because of immigration. This is primarily due to children being born to immigrants.

Between now and 2016, 550,000 more places will be required. Based on the cost of providing each school place, the total cost will be £40billion. Educating children of immigrants in state schools would cost around £195billion over a 25-year period, the report adds.

Migrationwatch said the quadrupling in net migration – the difference between the number of people arriving in the UK, and those leaving – was responsible. Many of those coming here were young people, who decided to have children, contributing to a ‘baby boom’. Between 1998 and 2009, total births increased by 11 per cent, Migrationwatch says.

Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman, said: ‘Almost every family in England is being affected by the growing crisis over school places but no one will talk about its causes. ‘These are some of the consequences of one of the most reckless and unpopular policies of any government in generations and they are now coming home to roost.’

Last month, the Mail revealed how hundreds of children had been left with no primary school place at the start of term. Thousands of other children are having to be taught in makeshift classrooms.

The problems were blamed on the surge in the number of young children and recession-fuelled departures from private schools.

The Coalition has acknowledged that the shortage of primary places is ‘critical’. Last night a Government spokesman said: ‘Ministers are clear that dealing with the demand for school places is an immediate priority – that is why we are transforming the school building programme to meet demand where it is most needed. ‘We are fully committed to reducing net migration back down to the tens of thousands [a year] rather than the hundreds of thousands.’


UK resumes Zimbabwe deportations

BRITAIN announced Thursday that it is resuming deportations to Zimbabwe after ministers decided that “the political situation is relatively stable and the humanitarian situation has greatly improved” since President Robert Mugabe agreed to share power with his opposition rivals in February last year.

Immigration lawyers said the announcement came as a surprise given that a tribunal is sitting later this month to set a new country guidance case for Zimbabwe.

The move also came just under a month after a minister told parliament Britain was “not starting enforced returns yet by any means” to Zimbabwe.

“It’s difficult to understand the logic of the ministers in putting the cart before the horse by amending the policy now and putting unnecessary political pressure on the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal judges,” immigration solicitor Yvonne Gwashawanhu said in London.

She added: “The Upper Tier Tribunal has listed before it the Zimbabwean country guidance case for hearing shortly and it is difficult to see how the judges can be expected to ignore this latest development. “Needless to say, there will now be a flurry of activity within the Zimbabwean community in the UK.”

Matthew Coats, the UK Border Agency’s head of immigration said enforced removals would resume after the country guidance case judgement is handed down, which lawyers expect to happen before Christmas.

Coats said: “When we do recommence enforced removals, they will be taken forward in a carefully planned and phased way. “We take our international responsibilities seriously and we will continue to grant protection to those Zimbabweans that need it. However, it is essential that we maintain the principle that each application for protection is considered on its individual merits and that returns are taken forward on a similar basis. “The courts have found that not all Zimbabweans are in need of international protection.”

The UK Border Agency sent a research team to Zimbabwe in August to track down asylum seekers who returned voluntarily and also conduct interviews with human rights groups about potential safety risks for returnees.

The fact finding team released its report two weeks ago, and lawyer Gwashawanhu described its findings as “one-sided” and accused the team of “asking leading questions calculated to produce a desired response.” Human rights groups say an election planned for next year could see a new flare-up of political violence.

Britain suspended forced removals to Zimbabwe in 2005 due to a political crisis engulfing the country at the time.

In 2008, Home Office figures showed there were 7,500 failed asylum seekers living in Britain.


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