Brexit sparked migrant worker discrimination in East Cambridgeshire, says council report

The Citizens Advice Bureau in Ely have debt advice to 1,752 people in 2016/17 - 1,038 more than the

The Citizens Advice Bureau in Ely have debt advice to 1,752 people in 2016/17 - 1,038 more than the previous year. - Credit: Archant

The number of migrant workers reporting incidents of discrimination in East Cambridgeshire increased after the EU referendum, according to a district council report.

Lewis Bage, communities and partnership manager, said that the Ely branch of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau has reported “many more” discrimination cases relating to migrant worker since the referendum last June.

His report, which will be shown to the council’s commercial services committee on March 14, also said that the referendum caused an increase in the number of people visiting the Ely office for advice on their rights to work and live in the area.

Mr Bage also said that many of those seeking advice had “already been given notice from their employers stating ‘Brexit conditions’.”

The report also highlighted the increasing issue of debt in the area, with Citizens Advice dealing with over 1,000 cases in 2016/17 than the previous year.

It gave advice to 1,752 people in the first six months of the period – 1,038 more than 2015/16 – and Mr Bage believes that payday loans could be contributing to the problem.

He said: “Payday loans are being utilised more and more as people are not able to manage their money efficiently in difficult times.

Most Read

“The majority of cases are due to welfare reform, benefit sanctions, mandatory reconsiderations and delays in personal independence payment claims.”

The influence of the Voluntary & Community Action East Cambs (VCAEC) was also highlighted; its social car scheme, which offers door-to-door transport to the disabled and elderly, completed 1,446 journeys and “remains in great demand,” while its Helping Hands gardening service saw volunteers complete 135 jobs, which had a “positive effect.”

Mr Bage will also propose that Citizens Advice Rural Cambs, Citizens Advice Newmarket and VCAEC should receive the same amount of council funding for next year - £47,346, £23,166 and £19,928 respectively.