British jobs for British workers; does this equal British problems?

I am worried by the already evident increase in tensions developing in the UK at the moment, largely in response to stresses brought on because of the recession.  Foresight has previously highlighted this as a potential implication of the downturn, as well as a potential implication of social attitudes towards immigrants, but it is worrying when you read an article like this one in today’s Independent.  Although it refers to restricting highly skilled immigrants, the implications - that immigrants take others’ jobs - will impact wider on community relations.  It is dangerous ground to move on, especially when we bear in mind that emigration from the UK is still so high; if you start restricting others from coming in to us, will they start restricting Brits from going elsewhere?  In which case there is equal competition, but this time it is just between British people.  Is it any better if the competition is between people of the same nationality, than people from different nationalities? 

Moves of this kind are likely to increase tensions further and negate the positive work being done to improve civil society at present.  The result is an increase in conflicts, a rise in radicalism and general civil unrest.  That may sound dramatic, but when you bear in mind the fact that we are only at the beginning of the recession, and already we are seeing civil disturbances (for example in Paris, and Latvia), I do not think it is an overstatement.

The VCS plays an important role in civil society, and at the heart of the majority of its organisations’ aims is making life better for people.  I can see a strong position for the VCS in this; in lobbying and campaigning, and in working at the grass roots level to support people in difficulty, and at this time I think it is worth asking your organisation if these are parts of work that you can or should focus on.

Last updated at 15:08 Mon 18/May/09.
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Caroline's picture

Caroline

Third Sector Foresight

With £6bn of spending cuts to be announced in the next week, people are getting increasingly nervous as to where those cuts will be made. This article suggests that with much of the money likely to be cut from public services, the future of these services may be in the hands of people immigrating to Britain as we struggle to fill the gaps left by people emmigrating.

This begs the question - if this does happen, what effect will this have on your organisation, and on British civil society as a whole? Keep an eye on this as the VCS is likely to play a role in keeping tensions reduced and supporting immigrants new to the country.

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How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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