Conservative British newspaper The Daily Mail has backed comments from Romania’s Minister of Labor Mariana Campeanu, who said the UK’s generous welfare system was a reason migrants were filling vacancies in Great Britain’s workforce. Campeanu made the comments to The Times during an interview last week.
She said that Britain should be grateful for Romanian workers who take jobs shunned by its citizens, adding that the country’s social welfare system might be a reason for this.
She also added that young, well-qualified Romanians were filling key professional shortfalls in the UK, in sectors such as nursing and social care, depriving Romania of skilled workers.
In an editorial, Max Hastings, a British journalist and columnist for the paper, agreed with the minister’s remarks, saying “it’s a shame it took a Romanian minister to say what our politicians daren’t”.
He said too many young Britons were work-shy, with almost a million 18-25-year-olds out of work.
“She makes an embarrassing but absolutely valid point,” Hastings says. “Anyone in Britain who looks around their own city or even market town sees migrants, most from Eastern Europe, working unremittingly on hospital wards, throughout the hospitality industry, in car washes and on farms, as builders and plumbers, and in many homes.”
“Almost all are doing jobs their British contemporaries could fill if they chose, but which they scorn or have made themselves unfit for.”
Debate about immigration from eastern Europe has intensified in the UK in recent weeks ahead of the lifting of working restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian citizens.
Starting from January 1, Romanians will no longer need a work permit or self employed status to work in the UK.
This has lead to “fears” of a surge in arrivals from the two countries and concern over the impact increase migration will have on public services, such as welfare.
Shaun Turton [email protected]