Are foreign workers pushing Fenland to breaking point?

PUBLISHED: 13:17 25 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:10 28 May 2010

FENLAND MP and Shadow Minister Malcolm Moss says towns such as Wisbech and March are at breaking point over the influx of foreign workers. Local people will only stand so much, said Mr Moss, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire. If you listen to what p

FENLAND MP and Shadow Minister Malcolm Moss says towns such as Wisbech and March are at breaking point over the influx of foreign workers.

"Local people will only stand so much," said Mr Moss, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire.

"If you listen to what people are saying on the streets of our Fenland towns, the repeated comment is 'enough is enough.'

"It would be foolish, and irresponsible, of politicians to ignore these comments and the Government must get its act together."

Mr Moss has backed calls by the Conservatives to control the entry of workers from Bulgaria and Romanian in advance of their joining the European Union.

"Tensions are already surfacing in North East Cambridgeshire with the existing situation," he said.

"People coming to my surgeries are complaining that they cannot get jobs because the labour market for our local factories is controlled by the gang-masters, who favour (along with the managers it should be said) migrant workers."

His constituents also claim, he said, they have been " priced out of the private rented housing market because of the influx of these workers who often live in houses in multiple occupation.

"What really puzzles me is that all these jobs five years ago were being done by local people. Where have they gone in the labour market?"

Mr Moss said there also appears to have been an increase in violent crime and criminal gang activity about migrant workers in Peterborough.

And in Wisbech, he said, there are complaints about migrant workers driving around without tax and insurance as well as the setting up of an illegal and unlicensed taxi service.

"This problem will not be solved by the Government pretending that it doesn't exist," he said.

"There needs to be a full recognition of the difficulties faced by local authorities and the police and the additional resources that are required. Local council tax payers should not have to foot the bill!

"We shouldn't avoid discussing these issues for fear of being branded racist or for being politically incorrect."

Mr Moss said his Party's position on Romania and Bulgaria is similar to that of John Denham, the Labour Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and of the CBI, who have argued for "a pause for a period before opening up to workers from further new member states." The Accession Treaties allow for a transitional period up to seven years in which full access can be restricted.

Mr Moss said he wants the Government to impose restrictions similar to the ones adopted by most EU countries when Poland and nine other countries became Member States. These restrictions allow in workers with particular skills needed in our economy, without opening the borders completely.

He added that the Government expected around 13,000 new migrants when the previous wave of EU expansion took place.

"Since May 2004 some 600,000, mainly from Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, have arrived in Britain," he said.

"The sheer weight of numbers has meant that some local authorities, required to provide school places and housing, have been put under great strain.

"We need to learn the lesson, and have controls in place for the next potential expansion. This will contribute to better relations between the existing population and new arrivals".

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