Government finally admits: Immigration IS placing huge strain on Britain
By JAMES SLACK
17th October 2007
Immigrants are placing a huge strain on public services, Labour finally admitted.
Crime is up, schools are struggling to cope with Eastern European children, community tensions are rising, health services
are coming under enormous pressure
and house prices are being driven up, the Government said.
The findings, based on a survey of public sector workers, are the first published by ministers after ten years of an 'open door' immigration policy.
Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said it was clear communities were 'unsettled' - and a 'new balance' should be struck between the needs of the economy and society in general.
Those questioned for the survey said busy A&E departments in the East of England, North Lincolnshire and Southampton were being used in place of doctors' surgeries. HIV and TB were singled out as diseases specifically linked to immigration.
Workers in the North West, South West and Scotland all warned of increased 'community tensions'
in areas unused to large- scale immigration.
Critics have accused the Government of giving no thought to the strain being placed on schools and hospitals
, as ministers focussed solely on boosting the economy with cheap workers from overseas.
Movre recently, they have been afraid to gauge the scale of the problem after woefully underestimating the number of arrivals from Eastern Europe.
Now, after finally carrying out the research, the scale of social impact has been revealed - albeit in what ministers admit is 'patchy' detail.
The report, to be presented to the Government's new Migration Impacts Forum today, fails to put figure on the full cost to society of mass immigration - which is increasing the population by 200,000 every year.
A Home Office study found that migrants helped to grow the economy by ?6billion last year. But experts said this did not mean they had boosted GDP per head, a crucial measure.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said the report 'confirms what everyone knows but what Labour have been in denial
about - that immigration has a real impact on the housing and public service infrastructure'.
Mr Byrne said: 'The pace of change, particularly in communities that do not have a history of absorbing migrants, has been unsettling and has created challenges for public services.
'This new approach will help us take migration decisions in a new way, starting with our policy towards Romania and Bulgaria.'
Citizens of the two former Communist countries had restrictions imposed when they joined the EU in January this year, limiting the number of work permits to 20,000.
These are due to be reviewed by the end of this year and Mr Byrne said this would be the first decision in which the Government would seek to strike a 'new balance'.
He appears certain to say the restrictions should remain in place. The final decision will be taken by Cabinet in the next few weeks.
Mr Byrne said the impact on public services would also be taken into account when ministers decide how many work permits to give to migrants from outside the EU, when a new points-based system is introduced next year.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'This report clearly shows that immigration is having a massive impact on public services at a local level.
'Ministers are finally admitting that, in certain areas, immigration is causing higher crime, poorer educational provision and overstretched healthcare.' http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=488005&in_page_id=1770