Refugees will help to enrich British society

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There are two categories of people who wish to settle in our country.

First, migrants who wish to better themselves. Countries can set rules for such applicants, which vary according to circumstances. Some will welcome them as they fill niches in the jobs market or make up for declining population numbers, and therefore the sustainability of pensions.

Second, those fleeing war and persecution, to whom we have obligations under humanitarian law. British people have not faced this situation apart from children who were sent to foster parents in the countryside in the Second World War.

Refugees command our sympathy and there has rightly been an outpouring of public grief following that tragic picture of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, lifeless on a beach in Turkey. It changed things completely.

Public pressure forced the Prime Minister to increase the number of refugees allowed here. Arab countries need to do more too.

If past experience is anything to go by these refugees will be good for Britain. They will be productive citizens who will enrich society.

The government will ask local councils to work out how they can welcome a relatively small number of refugees and play our part in a vital humanitarian plan.

It’s what we are good at and it is for the common good. As would be more international action to prevent and end conflicts before there are more Aylans.