MP's warning on influx of workers

PUBLISHED: 13:06 01 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:10 28 May 2010

MP Malcolm Moss

MP Malcolm Moss

MP 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, MP for North-East Cambridgeshire and shadow minister for tourism and the arts. If you lis

MP 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, MP for North-East Cambridgeshire and shadow minister for tourism and the arts.

"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 gangmasters, who favour, along with the managers it should be said, migrant workers."

He said his constituents were also claiming they had been priced out of the private rented housing market because of the influx of the foreign workers who often lived in houses in multiple occupation.

"What really puzzles me is that all these jobs five years ago were being done by local people," he said.

"Where have they gone in the labour market?"

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

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 was similar to that of John Denham, Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and of the CBI, which has 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 says 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, without opening the borders completely.

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

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

"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."

A Fenland District Council spokesman said: "We are aware that there are increased numbers of people coming into Fenland, and the council works closely with other partnership organisations to assist people in settling into the local community.

"We are aware that our population is made up of a number of different cultures and nationalities, and as part of our work have been developing a comprehensive welcome pack which aims to assist all people in understanding the roles and responsibilities of our community."

- WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is Malcolm Moss right? Are people in the Fens saying 'enough is enough' to immigration? Send your views to the editor or to our websites at either www.wisbechstandard.co.uk or www.cambstimes.co.uk or vote in our online poll.

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