The many cultures we enjoy allow the United Kingdom to be a Great Britain. We too often focus on the extremes when something bad happens in the UK and the death of drummer Lee Rigby sparked a wave of nationalism that came just as support for extremist groups was faltering to the point where they hardly existed. The fact that many residents in the UK speak languages and have customs that are alien to some of us has never been a real issue for educated people with far more important considerations than petty misconceptions.
Boosting our Economy
Any influx of foreign workers can only benefit our economy because they are working rather than placing a drain on society. Few people understand that someone who travels from another part of the EU looking for work will receive their benefits in the UK, but those costs are directed back to the country of origin. That is certainly how it worked when I was employed people to canvass for me in Spain. Some had been claiming UK benefits while looking for work.
How do you think the Spanish viewed the British arriving at the job centre counter to collect their benefits? Here’s a link to the DWP explaining just how we are equally able to rely on a system that some people criticise. It’s no revelation that most of the people complaining and who support far right groups are the very people who sit at home on various benefits while they complain about foreign workers taking their jobs. Without those foreign workers, there would be little tax in the system to fund their benefit claims.
A Nation of Entrepreneurs
While the majority of people in any population are unskilled or low skilled workers, that is simply an unavoidable fact of life in every society. In my experience, people who travel to other countries to work are often more enterprising than those that sit at home waiting for someone to show them how and what to do. The entrepreneurial spirit is less evident in the current generation than in our founding fathers, but that is not the case for many who arrive at these shores with the intention of starting a business.
Transferring business practices and ethics that is seeing places such as India, China and Brazil prosper can only be good for the UK. There are some barriers to language and culture, but these are quickly overcome with the correct mentality as demonstrated by the success of Indian owned Tata Steel in South Wales, but more recently, there has been increased efforts by the UK and India to form commercial links. Gordon Brown dramatically increased investment in the UK India Business Council, which is charged with increasing business links between the two countries.
Satellite Industries Benefit from Trade Links
As with any large business links or trade agreements, smaller businesses, either in the service sector or related industries, will prosper thanks to the increase in trade. The UK has greatly benefit from trade agreements and involvement in the European Union and it has exploited it’s relationship with commonwealth and former commonwealth countries to ensure the UK continues to play a major role in trade with Europe. Businesses that perform little or no exporting of goods, such as translation services, are growing faster than ever before and that’s why it’s imperative that any referendum concerning the UK’s involvement in Europe must leave the situation unchanged.
Karen Underwood is an Irish Business Information Consultant working across many industries in the UK and Ireland and has experienced the good and bad sides of international trade during her fifteen years in the role.