16 June 2016
The Green Party is today stepping up its campaign in defence of free movement within the European Union. With politicians from across the political spectrum lining up to attack free movement the Greens have launched a new film which celebrates the right that Britons have to live, work, study and retire across Europe.
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, has slammed Leave campaigners for ‘deliberately whipping up anger’ against free movement. She said that they are ‘using the oldest trick in the Establishment’s playbook’ by blaming foreign born people for the problems caused by successive UK Governments. The Green Party is calling for a ‘beefed up’ Migration Impact Fund to redistribute the additional resources brought to the UK by EU nationals – thus ensuring local services are bolstered in areas of high population change.
Studies have shown that EU Nationals are net contributors to Britain’s economy. The University of London has shown that the UK has gained £20bn from EU nationals coming to live here . Recent research from The London School of Economics noted that ‘falls in EU immigration would be likely to lead to lower British incomes.’
There are over 1.2million British people living in other EU countries – with an estimated 310,000 in Spain, 250,000 in Ireland and 190,000 in France . Thousands of British students are studying in other European countries .
Caroline Lucas MP said:
“There is a cosy consensus in the Leave campaign: any problem Britain faces is blamed on the EU and migrants or, if possible, both. It’s all too easy for free marketeers like Farage and Johnson to blame the failures of their own economics on people who have come here to make a life for themselves. The reality is that our EU membership is good for Britain, and that free movement should be embraced, and made to work for everyone. We know that free movement has been positive for Britain – meaning more money for our public services and in people’s pockets - but Government failure means that the benefits aren’t fairly distributed.
“It’s now time to make a stand against the lies of the Brexit camp. They are deliberately whipping up anger among whole swathes of the population and pointing to immigration as the source of all of the challenges we face. But the facts don’t bear out what they’re saying: the biggest suppresser of wages has been a global financial crash, services are under pressure predominantly because of vicious Government cutbacks. Leavers like to portray themselves as anti-establishment but they are using the oldest trick in the establishment’s playbook: blaming people not born here for the problems caused by successive governments.”
“Of course people will be angry and frustrated when local services are strained. But to see a campaign dominated by prophets of austerity suddenly masquerading as champions of the NHS is astounding. Trusting the NHS to these people is like leaving Hannibal Lector in charge of making your packed lunch.
Right wing politicians are deliberately trying to con people into believing that their problems are caused by immigration - rather than by successive governments who have allowed some to thrive, whilst many are left behind, marginalised and disempowered.
Jean Lambert MEP, the Green Party’s Migration spokesperson, said:
“Free movement is a good thing. It is wrong that in this referendum debate free movement is being presented as a problem. By focusing on immigration we are letting the real problems go unaddressed – its government cuts, and lack of planning and investment in housing, skills and public services that are really to blame for the lack of provision.
“We benefit every day from the thousands of dedicated staff from other countries in our health and social care services. I am grateful to the 10,000 doctors and other health professionals from the EU working in our NHS. Free movement works two-ways and is one important reason for us to Remain in the EU.”
 The Green Party's Free Movement video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_oz4TBBKOI