WORDS: Nicola Zia
I've heard some angry opinions lately based on zero facts about how our economy is so weak that we can't afford to help refugees and I want to set the record straight. Please take five minutes out of your lunch hour to read the following factual information.
Each refugee that is accepted into the UK gets a maximum of £36.95 per week. This information is on the UN website.
We know that our Government has promised to accept 20,000 refugees over five years. They aren't arriving all at once. We know Cameron has said it will be a slow process over five years. But just for statistics, let's say that every single one of those refugees came into the UK today. That would cost the UK £39,167,000 per year. Over five years that's £195,835,000.
Corporate tax evasion is rife in the UK currently. Only a few companies have been named and shamed. In 2013 corporate tax avoidance was estimated by the Government at £1.3billion. That was in one year, not over five. So if that stays roughly the same, the cost of refugees would be approximately 0.28% of the tax avoided by corporations. Please remember this is worst case scenario. I based this on all 20,000 refugees arriving today. This figure of 0.28% is more than what it will be in reality.
And that is only corporate tax. I couldn't possibly begin to explain the tiny percentage it would be on the UK tax in total; income tax, council tax, VAT, motoring tax, inheritance tax, national insurance contributions... etc. It would be a tiny dent in our economy to help these 20,000 refugees that our Government has promised.
So the question is not 'can we afford them?' I have clearly shown that we can. The argument should not be to help our own before we help refugees. Those figures prove we can afford to help the vulnerable, needy and homeless in the UK as well as helping refugees. It shouldn't be one or the other, it should and can be both.
The question is; why are you angry and focussed on the refugee crisis' inevitable 'sponging' from the UK government and not angry with the billions of pounds we have lost in unpaid corporate tax? That money is ours! It is our countries! It is to pay for our schools, police, hospitals, our fantastic nurses and doctors and our brilliant NHS that we have been told is on the brink of collapse. And yes, refugees.
So why are you angry about the refugee crisis? Why are you shouting about how they are only coming here for money? Why are you never shouting about corporate tax? Or that MPs get an 11% pay rise whilst free school dinners are cut?
I can tell you exactly why you're angry. It's because the media has told you to be angry. Let's not ever forget the majority of our media is owned by Murdoch who invites our prime minister for private dinners on his yacht. He has his own agenda. He is shoving misleading articles in your face to get you angry. He is directing your anger towards the poor, so the working class blame the poor and the middle class blame the poor. He is using you. And the rich, who avoid tax and have private dinners with MPs, can continue to rob our public sector funds and steal from the weakest and poorest in our society.
This is what you should be angry about.