80,000 immigrants now in East of England

PUBLISHED: 18:25 08 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

Immigration Feature

Immigration Feature

AN estimated 80,000 immigrants are now living in the East of England, so chances are that a young foreign family or a migrant worker is living in your street or housing estate. A House of Lords report published last week claims immigration has little or

AN estimated 80,000 immigrants are now living in the East of England, so chances are that a young foreign family or a migrant worker is living in your street or housing estate.

A House of Lords report published last week claims immigration has "little or no impact" on the economic prosperity of Britons.

But the Prime Minister responded by stating that he had no plans to put a cap on immigration, and claims non-British nationals add £6bn to the economy.

Malcolm Moss, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, has strong views on the subject, insisting that gang masters are exploiting migrant workers, and unscrupulous private landlords are causing rents to become unaffordable for what he terms "indigenous people."

"We are not used to accommodating immigration on this scale," said Mr Moss. "People in my patch are feeling, very strongly indeed, that it is a burden that has been imposed on them. It's a question of the speed of the influx. The message to immigrants is, 'unless you've got jobs to come to, don't bother'."

"Immigrants are distorting the private rental market. If you have got a private landlord with accommodation that is normally for a three person family, they go in and say you can fit six single Polish men in there and make more money out of them. I've had people at my surgeries who have given up trying to get a council house and they can't afford rent in the private sector," he added.

"There is an argument that getting indigenous people to go and get jobs in fields is difficult," he continued.

"We are increasingly having to turn to migrant workers. They are workers and all the rest of it but it doesn't make sense that four million people people are out of work. There is, after-all, a cost to the taxpayer for that."

At local level, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has commissioned a report from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, to follow the experiences of migrant workers. It was started in January and will take two years to report back.

Responding to the House of Lords report, Mark Allison, migrant workers manager at EEDA, said: "Our research has shown that the East of England continues to benefit from recruiting skilled migrant workers from overseas. Without these workers, this region's economy would suffer, as could the delivery of many public services which benefit from migrant's skills. Businesses in the East of England echo this message - they need migrant workers and the skills that they bring to ensure that they continue to compete locally, nationally and globally.

"We would have concerns over a total cap on inward migration, as it is vital the region is able to attract skilled workers in order to avoid businesses moving offshore to where the labour is available."

EEDA will be commissioning a study later this year to determine the economic risk associated with failing to maintain and attract sufficient migrant workers with the right skills to the region.

Mr Allison added:

"The findings of our research should complement today's call for a greater evidence-base surrounding policy decisions on migrant workers."

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Should immigration be capped?

Write to: the Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email: editor@archant.co.uk

Next week we talk to seasonal agricultural workers at Shropshire's Farm in Barway to find out how they feel about living and working in Britain.

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