The racists and Little Englanders are having a field day with the pending inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union with their claims that hordes of benefit scroungers will be flooding the country , and , of course , the Labour government have been fanning this xenophobia to disguise its own failings to provide adequate social and welfare services and hide the effects of their public spending cuts . The Independent ( 22 August 2006 ) , however , carried a more balanced article :-
The headlines ... and the truth
HALT THE TIDE OF EU MIGRANTS ... HIV CHILDREN BRINGING TIMEBOMB TO BRITAIN - Sunday Express, 20/8
Claim: Britain is confronted with an HIV time bomb when Romanian teenagers descend on our over-stretched health service.
Reality: There are 15,850 Romanians with HIV/Aids, according to the UN. Two thirds were infected while living in children's state institutions during the late 1980s. The infection rate is 0.7 per cent of the population - slightly less than in the UK.
EAST EUROPE MIGRANTS HELP TAKE JOBLESS TO SIX-YEAR HIGH - Daily Mail, 17/8
Claim: Unemployment has soared to its highest level for more than six years as thousands of workers arrive from eastern Europe.
Reality: While the unemployment rate rose last month, the number of people in work grew by 42,000 over the three months to March 2006 and by 240,000 over the year, to reach 28.94 million - the highest number of people in work since records began in 1971.
MIGRANTS GET BRITS' PAY SLASHED BY 50 PER CENT - The Sun, 18/8
Claim: Earnings of British builders and other manual workers have slumped by 50 per cent as a flood of east European migrants drives down wages.
Reality: The annual growth rate in average earnings excluding bonuses, was 3.9 per cent in June 2006, up 0.1 per cent on the previous month. Including bonuses wages grew by 4.3 per cent, up 0.2 per cent on the previous month.
UNCHECKED IMMIGRATION IS PUTTING BRITONS OUT OF HOMES - Daily Telegraph, 18/8
Claim: The unprecedented influx of newcomers has had an impact on the availability of social housing.
Reality: The shortage of homes in Britain pre-dates the arrival of east European workers. Accession state workers do not qualify for council housing.
CHEERS, WE'RE COMING TO RIP YOU OFF - People 20/8
Claim: Mafia chiefs in Bulgaria are plotting to flood Britain with heroin, prostitutes and guns when they join the EU in January.
Reality: The Centre for the Study of Democracy, a Sofia-based think-tank, found the crime rate in Bulgaria was lower than the European average with crime rates falling by half between 2001 and 2004. It is now safer than Denmark and Australia.
HOW THE NEW FAGINS ARE BRINGING CHILD SLAVERY TO BRITAIN - Sunday Telegraph 4/6
Claim: The UK is likely to surge up the league of favoured destinations for trafficked women and children once Romania and Bulgaria join the EU next year.
Reality: The US State Department recently welcomed Bulgarian efforts to crack down on trafficking, offering witnesses protection and allowing suspects to be extradited to stand trial abroad. The number of trafficking convictions in Bulgarian courts increased nearly fivefold in 2005 - up to 34.
NHS AND SCHOOLS 'AT RISK FROM SURGE IN EU IMMIGRANTS' - The Times 31/07
Claim: A leaked government report warned that schools and hospitals will struggle to cope with an influx of people from eastern Europe.
Reality: Immigrants make up 8 per cent of the workforce but contribute 10 per cent of the UK's GDP. Ernst & Young reports they are net tax contributors - rather than a burden - to the public purse, easing the pensions bill through tax and keeping interest rates at least 0.5 per cent lower - equivalent to £500 a year on the average mortgage.
IMMIGRANTS TO FLOOD IN - Daily Star 24/07
Claim: Britain will be swamped by up to 145,000 poverty-stricken migrants from Bulgaria and Romania who are expected to flock here once they join the EU.
Reality: Think-tank the IPPR estimates 56,000 will arrive from both countries in the first year - 41,000 of them from Romania. A Bulgarian government survey revealed only 2.9 per cent of its nationals planned to migrate.