Letter: Immigration policy needs both ends of the telescope

Stephen Bush makes the all too frequent mistake of looking at UK immigration policy from only one end of the telescope (“What would a good immigration policy look like?”, Opinion, FT Weekend, March 19).

New arrivals have a much wider impact than a purely economic one. Inter alia they need housing, health and social care support, proper supply of food and water as well as increased specific expenditures — on items such as language teaching — to help them with their integration with the host community.

Particularly in an already relatively crowded island accommodating migrants does not come cost free even if it is hard to put an economic value on such things as the loss of open space and greenbelt, the increased pressure on our hospitals and schools, the long-term damage to our ecology and environment and the increased risks to our food security in a world that seems ever more unstable.

As for Bush’s proposal that employers should be free to hand out visas when they so wish, in an age when British industry and commerce have cut back on home workforce training, if we did that we could surely look forward to many more shameful episodes similar to P&O.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts
House of Lords, London SW1, UK

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