Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric has called for political leaders to extinguish “the discourse of fear” that plagues immigration’s contribution to the economy.
The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said migrant workers helped ensure large cities such as London were able to “carry on working”, and said that it was time for senior politicians to “appeal to something more normal and more substantial than fear” when discussing foreign workers’ contributions to the economy.
The Archbishop, who is to be made a cardinal by Pope Francis in Rome this weekend, identified London as an example of where the benefits of immigration could be seen.
Speaking from the Archbishop’s House in Westminster before his departure to Italy, he said: “If you are up early and on the Tube early in the morning, the people coming in to this city to make sure it carries on working are the immigrant communities.
“If you go to the National Health Service, you know very well that a lot of its work and ongoing survival and service is down to immigrant communities.
“We really should have a positive appreciation of the contribution that people who come to this country make to our wellbeing and economy. I think the idea that immigrants are a net drain on our economy is false.”