Gillick’s view on Fenland: “The people we describe as obese, thick and badly educated are very, very content. They enjoy being 25 stone. They are just a burden on the state”

Cllr Gordon Gillick. Picture: Steve Williams

Cllr Gordon Gillick. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

UKIP county councillor Gordon Gillick courted more controversy yesterday as he described some people in Fenland as “obese, thick, badly educated but very content because they enjoy being 25 stone”.

Cllr Gordon Gillick, speaking at a full meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council, said people, particularly in Fenland, “despise the state, despise authority and despise the law”.

He said: “I’ve been in Wisbech for 33 years and brought up 10 children, all graduates, all very successful and paying a lot of tax.

“At present I’m engaged with group of young guys who live in hostel for £5 a week. “They help me decorate my large house. I pay them more than minimum wage. It isn’t employment, its lunch money. They only work for short hours.

“I stepped out of the front door the other day and noticed one of them two cans of beer in pocket heading to the pub.

“I said have you not got a job yet, are you still looking? He said it’s a bit difficult really; I’ve got a baby on the way. “I said are you married? He said no, it’s a girlfriend. I said what’s the advantage of that? He said more benefits.

“The people we describe as obese, thick and badly educated are very, very content. “They enjoy being 25 stone. They are just a burden on state. They don’t see themselves as poor, they see themselves as living. It’s an attitude of mind, you can’t solve that.”

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Cllr Gillick was speaking to a motion from council leader Steve Count which called on the committee chairmen and vice-chairmen to work with their fellow committee members to tackle deprivation and fund projects to ease poverty in parts of Wisbech, March and Cambridge.

The motion was unanimously approved, with 58 votes in favour, none against and no abstentions.

Cllr Gillick said: “People, particularly in Fenland, despise the state, despise authority and despise the law.

“They pedestrianised the centre of Wisbech years ago but they ignored it. Now you can drive and park there. That’s the way they are.

“They’ve rebuilt the major secondary school three times in 30 years, spending £20 million or more, but it has not worked.

“The lads I’m working with at the moment smoke dope. I tell them I’m not giving you money to smoke dope. I’m not a fool. I say why do you do it? They say makes us feel up. I said do you feel down rest of time? They say they just feel like nobodies.

“They can’t read properly, can’t write letters and after 11 years of education can’t get a job.”

Cllr Gillick said there were no longer the “simple” jobs available to young people in Fenland that used to exist because they have been taken by Eastern European workers.

He said: “My youngest daughter worked in a sausage factory to make money so she could carry on to university. These jobs have gone.

“She was receiving £9-10 shovelling potatoes. Now it’s £6.50 because Eastern Europeans are doing it. The jobs have been taken from us.

“A multi millionaire local entrepreneur said to his staff of middle aged women, who know the growing trade superbly, they would have to take 45 per cent cut in wages or go.”

In November 2013, a cross party complaint was made about Cllr Gillick after he described youngsters in care of being “takers” from society.

Conservative Councillor Fred Yeulett said: “I welcome the motion. There are many challenges to be faced in the north of the county, not least March and Christchurch, my division.

“However, it’s not all doom and gloom. I went to Cavalry Primary School and was told their key stage results have again improved. This shows achievements can be made around here.

“We need to deliver the quality of life in areas of deprivation that people in other parts of the county enjoy and expect.”

UKIP Councillor Paul Clapp said: “If the Conservatives hadn’t starved Wisbech of money for the past 20 years we would not be in this situation.

“We have the 20/20 vision but I’m never invited to meetings. How can I contribute if I’m not getting any input?

“I’ve lived in Wisbech for 14 years and Fenland District Council have been told to investigate dereliction but it’s still the same. Nothing changes.

“What we need in Wisbech are more things for the youth to do and real jobs. One lady I know has two degrees and still doesn’t have a job. We need more youth work focusing on 16 to 18 year-olds.

“It’s a lovely motion but I want to see actions.”

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