MP calls time on ‘uncontrolled, unplanned mass migration’ but local farmers say without them supermarket shelves would be empty
16:32 01 November 2012
PETERBOROUGH MP Stewart Jackson launched a scathing attack on an open all doors policy to migration into Cambridgeshire.
Mr Jackson questioned the affect of “uncontrolled, unplanned mass migration” as he introduced a Bill into Parliament to encourage talented and hard working families into the UK but to stop others.
“I make no apology for seeing the issue through the prism of my constituency and the impact that uncontrolled and unplanned mass migration has had on it,” he said.
“Peterborough is a regional hub for transport, logistics, food processing and packaging, agriculture and horticulture, but youth unemployment nevertheless stands at 11.5%, almost twice the regional average, and almost 12,000 people are on out-of-work benefits.”
“It is for us to decide about our borders and who we allow into our country,” he said.
Labour’s Denis McShane described it as a “sad and bad Bill.”
Mr McShane said that east Europeans are in Peterborough and the Fens because firms could not find the local workers to do the jobs.
“Mr Evan Davis of the BBC made a programme on that very subject,” said Mr McShane.” He went to King’s Lynn and the region and tried to find local workers who were willing to get up at 5 am to fill the sandwiches or to pick fruit and vegetables in uncomfortable conditions, but he could find none.
“The Bill would condemn to abolition the many firms in the region and elsewhere in the country that use that labour.”
Upwell farmer Kevin Curzon, whose firm grows three million pumpkins a year, later told the BBC: “We have a lot of migrant workers and I speak for lot of farmers in UK when I say that if you took migrant workers out of Britain you’d have nothing on the supermarket shelves.”
March farmer Victor Aveling, who featured in the Ewan Davies programme, said this week that he continued to rely on migrant workers to pick asparagus “which is jolly hard work”
He said: “We definitely require people to do seasonal work in horticulture but that doesn’t mean you can’t restrict it. But it is to say simply to allow highly skilled people into the country is not on.”
He added that many years ago he could recruit 800 seasonal workers from March to visit his farm to pick strawberries but no longer.
“In the mid 80s we stopped growing strawberries; we wanted to employ 15 people-we couldn’t get 15 to come,” said Mr Aveling.
(There will be a second reading of the Bill in Parliament in December).