|Editorial Comment: Helping refugees is not the only important issue to consider when dividing the ‘economic cake|
The PM has been trying to bring some rational thought to the refugee / migration problem at the UN recently, while (back in the UK) many NGOs & Refugee organisations are urging us to take several multiples of the 20,000 already agreed (plus 3,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children) by 2020, However a NAO report recently ‘costed’ those we have already taken in and expanding the scheme to 100,000 would cost around 5 x £1.734bn – or £8.67bn up to 2020. (Illustrating the potential cost of ‘open borders’ for refugees)
As for unaccompanied children, it costs LAs £50,000 to look after each unaccompanied child every year!
As the LGA has previously highlighted ; "When an unaccompanied child arrives in the UK, it is the council area where they arrive that is responsible for all costs associated with that child up until the age of 25. This includes schooling, foster care or children's homes, through to university fees and housing costs, whether they stay within the area or are moved elsewhere in the country”.
So, while we all have sympathy for every one of these individual children seeking ‘an education’ (the majority not from Syria, but rather Afghans, Eritreans and Albanians), who will go & tell individual pensioners in pain (face-to-face) that the UK cannot afford to pay for their essential hip operation, or that their cataract operation is delayed 15 months because there are no funds available and also that the local council cannot afford their social care? - Guardian: NIB report - Patients in England face 15-month wait for cataract surgery
Given that we are still running a £multi-Bn deficit (and have even had to abandon achieving a surplus by 2020 due to Brexit issues), perhaps we should reconsider the requirement to spend 0.7% of GDP on ‘Foreign Aid’ (Where does the UK's aid currently go? - BBC News) and re-assign the money (or at least an increased part of it) to:
Standing well back from the emotional & shocking scenes of drowning migrants, we could even consider whether there is more ‘long-term benefit’ to be gained and lives to be saved ‘for the world’ by using the money to fund research to find new antibiotics, rather than ‘facilitate’ people moving from poverty to the ‘rich’ West. A suitable subject for the BBC’s Moral Maze programme possibly!
(We need to find an answer to this conundrum ~ Anyone remember those original HIV/Aids Advertisements? ~ DH: UK secures historic UN Declaration on antimicrobial resistance ~ FSA Chief Scientific Adviser outlines the challenges of Antimicrobial Resistance
The reality is that there are more ’good causes / needs’ than there is tax revenue to fund their requirements and (just as with the EU referendum), there is coming a time when those who live outside the Westminster bubble & metropolitan elite, will start demanding that those who have ‘paid in’ all their lives should be prioritised over those who want to come to the UK and get the ‘benefits’ for ‘Free’, however desperate their need!
Managing the refugee problem:
10DS: PM calls for a new global approach to respond to unmanaged migration ~ DFID: PM pledges new UK support to help tackle migration crisis ~ HO: Joint statement by the governments of the UK and Germany ~ Unicef statement on the New York Declaration on Refugees & Migrants ~ ESRC: UN Summit to hear new research on why refugees & migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2015 ~ Guardian: Lack of Schools & homes threatens Syrian refugee UK resettlement ~ DIFD: First countries set to benefit from funding to ensure children get an education in times of crisis ~ Unicef calls for an increase in education spending as new report reveals global crisis in learning ~ Does anyone know the size of the problem over the next 5 years? ~ Editorial comment; Points to ponder on the Syrian migration crisis
NHS, Social Care & Mental Health:
NHS: It always needs more! ~ PC&PE: Role for whole of Government in improving mental health support ~ NHS Confederation: More doctors are needed but healthcare will be at risk if numbers keep increasing ~ Working towards better mental health ~ A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison (Francis Bacon) ~ Are we prepared to ‘re-slice the revenue cake’ to pay for it ~ Like pensions, most people don’t think about their care needs in old age ~ Kings Fund: Clear & credible plan needed for digital health
Let’s hope that they don’t build them on a floodplain ~ Everyone needs a ‘home’ ~ ‘Housing’ is not just about ‘home ownership’ ~ The rooms / buildings & gardens also need to be of a decent size ~ PX: Government will miss its housing target unless Housing Associations are given more freedoms to build