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Migrants in Catering Jobs

Dispelling myths about migrants

Migrants now account for one in eight of the UK�s working age population and are boosting economic output by �6 billion each year. But there is official concern over their impact on crime, housing, health and education.

That�s the conclusion of two separate government reports on immigration last week. The first, The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration, admitted Britain�s unskilled and low-skilled workers were being hit by foreign competition - which was pushing down wages - but said immigrants were often more attractive to employers.

�Native workers sometimes proved unreliable in certain sectors, especially agriculture and hotels and catering,� said the report.

�Some employers had tried recruiting applicants via a jobcentre but found that they sometimes turned up for interviews purely to get a form signed to enable them to receive a jobseeker�s allowance.�

The report concluded: �Migrants are filling the jobs that natives will not do.�

Contrary to popular belief, most immigrants are not waiting at tables or working on building sites. Banking and finance soak up 13% of migrant workers, followed by the hotel and restaurant trade at 12%. Construction accounts for just 7% while another 5% work in agriculture and fishing. And they earn more than their UK-born colleagues. Foreign workers earn an average of �424 a week, compared with �395 for UK-born workers.

However, a Home Office study said immigration was putting pressure on public services. Five out of eight UK regions reported difficulties with crime and disorder because of immigration, even though only two regions said community cohesion was a problem. Six regions reported difficulties with health, five over education and seven out of eight said housing was a problem. Immigrants might boost the economy by �6 billion, but an Oxford University academic claims they cost �8.8 billion. In a report to a House of Lords committee, Professor David Coleman totted up extra costs such as crime (�4 billion), translation services (�100m), English lessons (�280m) and money sent home by migrant workers (�1.4 billion).

The fatties are taking over

A frightening vision of the future in which a healthy weight will be abnormal has been outlined in the UK�s biggest report into obesity.

If our waistlines continue to bulge as they have over recent years, more than half of all adults and a quarter of children will be obese by 2050. Just 10% of men and 15% of women will be the right weight for their height.

All that extra weight will cost the nation �45 billion - �6.5 billion to treat the health effects and the rest of it in sickness benefit and loss of production to industry.

The report blames cheap, high-energy foods, labour-saving devices, desk jobs and our love of the car for our rise in weight. �For an increasing number of people, weight gain is the inevitable - and largely involuntary - consequence of exposure to modern lifestyle,� it says. �This is not to dismiss personal responsibility altogether, but the forces that drive obesity are, for many people, overwhelming.�

Dr Susan Jebb, head of nutrition and health at the Medical Research Council, said it was a surprise that anybody stayed thin.

Britain plans oil grab in Antarctic

Britain is planning to lay claim to what could be a vast oil-rich area of the Antarctic. The Foreign Office is drawing up a submission to the United Nations that 386,000 square miles of sea bed in the south Atlantic should be declared British.

The area is thought to contain lucrative reserves of oil and natural gas, although under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty the search for these reserves could not begin until 2048. Opponents of the British move - including Argentina and Greenpeace - say that any submission would breach the spirit of the treaty, which was designed to prevent new claims.

The British first staked an interest in Antarctica in 1908. The British Antarctic Territory now stretches out 666,000 sq miles from the south pole, although parts of it are disputed by Argentina and Chile. Four other countries have substantial interests on the continent: Norway, Australia, France and New Zealand.

The submission to the UN will be one of five similar claims that Britain is staking. �They are in the Bay of Biscay, around Ascension, off the British Antarctic Territory, around the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and in the Hatton-Rockall basin,� confirmed the Foreign Office. �We believe these five meet the geological conditions required.�

The claims are based on article 76 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which defines a �continental shelf�.

The Foreign Office added: �It�s incredibly unlikely that the Antarctic Treaty would ever be abolished but in order to safeguard our interests for the time being, we are submitting a claim


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