Roger Helmer MEP: Immigration, Trade, and Climate

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UKIP Energy spokesman Roger Helmer’s latest newsletter Straight Talking, includes very interesting points about immigration, the US-EU trade agreement TTIP, and EU climate policy. We have reproduced quotes below for the benefit of our supporters.

Roger on Immigration:

“UKIP is not “against immigration”, nor “against immigrants”.  But we are against uncontrolled immigration, and against the politicians who deliberately engineered mass immigration.

“We believe that mass immigration places undue pressure on social cohesion and social infrastructure – especially on hospitals, housing and schools.  Last year there were roughly 300,000 net immigrants to the UK, and 140,000 housing completions.  It would not be far-fetched to say that at least half of those new houses would have been needed to house the immigrants (depending on occupancy).

“It is therefore a plain and incontrovertible fact that mass immigration has a major impact on housing.

“UKIP proposes an Australian-style points system based on numbers and skills, not on nationality or ethnicity, and we specifically exclude any bias in favour of so-called “European citizens”.  We believe that the present immigration system, in effect if not in intent, is discriminatory, in that it is biased in favour of (generally white) Europeans, and against (for example) Commonwealth citizens.  Our objective is to bring down net immigration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands.”

Roger on TTIP:

“There’s been a lot of rather paranoid speculation about the proposed USA/EU trade deal TTIP, with wild assertions about its possible impact on the NHS, and the effect of the investor/state dispute settlement procedure (ISDS).  The first thing to understand is that there is currently no text on the table, so no one knows for sure what will be in it.  But UKIP MEPs in parliament (and indeed many other people) have made it clear to the European Commission that we will not accept any outcome that adversely affects the NHS, or represents a threat to democratic decision-making.

“We are also clear that we should prefer the UK to be out of the EU altogether, and to be negotiating our own bilateral UK/USA trade deal .  Indeed my view is that but for our EU membership, we should have had such a deal decades ago – it’s a no-brainer.

“However we are where we are, and as long as we’re in the EU, the only options are a deal negotiated by Brussels, or no deal at all (and indeed “no deal at all” may not be an option either).  UKIP is a broadly libertarian party that is in favour of free trade, and it would be perverse to oppose a transatlantic trade deal just because we currently find ourselves (regrettably) in the EU.

“Remember also that the EU already has free trade deals with dozens of countries around the world, and we expect these deals to be “grandfathered” to the UK after Brexit – although then we shall be free to seek to renegotiate the terms on our own account.  But on balance these deals represent a benefit for the UK economy, growth and jobs.

“So my position is clear: I shall support the negotiations (always with the caveat that I’d rather we were negotiating independently) and I will vigorously oppose any measures that might damage our NHS or other UK interests.  But I certainly will not oppose TTIP in a thoughtless, knee-jerk way, as some of the correspondence I receive seems to want.”

Roger on the futility of EU climate policy: 

“Since following up on former Commissioner Antonio Tajani’s claim that “we are creating an industrial massacre in Europe” (with energy prices), I’ve been horrified to see the extent of the damage.  Europe has lost more than a third of its smelting capacity in the last eight years, at a time when the market for aluminium is growing.  The slack is taken up by imports — which is bad for our balance of payments, and for jobs and investment in Britain.  But arguably it’s also bad for global emissions too (if that worries you).

“As I mentioned in my recent Conference speech, both the major UK smelters have closed, at Lynemouth in the North East, and in Anglesey.  As a result, Bridgnorth Aluminium can no longer source the mighty several-ton slabs they need from the UK.  Nor are they prepared to import them, because handling and lead-times create serious problems.  So they import smaller ingots, and have to melt the ingots down into slabs before they can use them. 

“Normally, the slabs are the direct product of the smelting process.  To take ingots (already smelted) and melt them again is an extra process using a great deal more energy, and creating extra emissions.

“So as a direct result of EU policy, we have plants closed; jobs lost; balance of payments worsened.  But also, for Bridgnorth, we have extra costs, extra emissions, competitiveness undermined.  This is a lose-lose-lose policy, put in place by politicians who are keen to posture as saviours of the environment, but have no idea at all of the unintended consequences and perverse incentives they create.”

Roger Helmer MEP, East Midlands

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