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Political

Shocking rise in suicide attempts at deportation centres

This is shocking and disturbing:

Suicide attempts have become more frequent in British deportation detention centres, with on average about two attempts every day this summer, according to a freedom of information request response passed to the Guardian.

Between April and June of this year there was a 22% rise in the number of detainees who tried to kill themselves, according to the FoI response from the Home Office, obtained by the organisation No Deportations. In all, 159 attempts were recorded. [The Guardian]

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, has responded to the news saying:

Locking up vulnerable people for months on end, without any idea when they’ll be released, is clearly inhumane. It’s also unnecessary and expensive.

We demand that eight of the UK’s 10 detention centres are closed and replaced by community-based alternatives, so that detention is only used as an absolute last resort. This will free up resources to enable vulnerable people to get the support they need.

This is part of a wider picture about the government’s attitude in general towards letting people from overseas live here. Central to that is Theresa May’s insistence on arbitrary cuts in the levels of net immigration the UK. Vince Cable has been writing in CityAM about that:

The government’s own Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has just acknowledged the contribution to productivity and innovation from an immigrant labour force that is relatively young, flexible, ambitious and mobile. Strikingly, the average EU migrant contributed £2,300 more to the public finances (in 2016/17) than the average Brit.

Those who favour tight immigration controls claim that there is an impact on the wages of the low-skilled. However, various economic studies which I commissioned in government failed to show any significant drag on wages; by and large, the relatively unskilled migrants were doing jobs that the indigenous labour force wouldn’t do…

The government has aspirations for a big increase in house building, and for major infrastructure investment. Without a continuation of the current EU freedom of movement, the ambitions are little more than fantasy.

In the current labour market, it is not clear where the British workers are who will perform the low-skilled jobs; we are at record levels of employment, and labour participation rates are high.

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