MP tells of new task force for Wisbech and Fens to clamp down on rogue landlords who exploit and threaten migrant workers

Steve Barclay MP

Steve Barclay MP - Credit: Archant

MIGRANT workers are being exploited through living in overcrowded houses, evicted illegally and threatened with violence says NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay.

His comments came as it was announced today that a task force – codename Operation Pheasant- has been set up in the Fens to tackle criminality associated with rogue landlords, over crowding and anti social behaviour.

Mr Barclay believes that a “concerted effort will help to prevent extremist, racist groups feeding on the genuine concerns of local people.

“The growing number of migrant workers living in extremely overcrowded properties has led to exploitation by rogue landlords and other spin-off problems which are difficult for one agency to combat alone.”

He said: “The task-force delivers a multi-pronged approach to the problem of workers living in cramped, overcrowded and substandard accommodation,” he said.

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He has twice met Theresa May in recent months to discuss problems in Wisbech and other parts of Fenland and has spoken with senior civil servants.

Partly as a result is the bringing together of a multi agency task force “that will convene monthly to share expertise, monitor developments and take a lead in dealing with specific issues related to houses in multiple occupation.”

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It is made up of representatives from Cambridgeshire Police, the Gangmaster Licensing Authority (GLA), Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue, the Department of Work and Pensions, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, UK Border Agency (UKBA) and Fenland District Council.

He said: “The exploitation of migrant workers is a cause for real concern and only by working together can all the different authorities begin to make some progress.”

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