‘Mass, uncontrolled immigration’ from EU has put pressure on public services, says Ipswich MP
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has claimed communities have been adversely affected by some European migration - but has been criticised by a council leader who hailed EU immigrants for helping the NHS.
While acknowledging that many EU migrants had made a positive contribution, Mr Hunt said during a parliamentary debate on introducing a points-based immigration system that working class communities had seen increased pressure on schools and hospitals.
However, Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere has criticised the MP’s remarks, saying workers from EU nations “have not caused ‘extra pressure’ on services – they have stopped our NHS and social care systems from collapsing”.
During the debate, Mr Hunt said: “Taking back control of our borders was one of the central reasons, if not the main reason, why millions of people up and down the country voted to leave the European Union almost four years ago and this bill brings us one step nearer to delivering on this historic verdict.
“Taking back control is about ending the uncontrolled mass immigration which has disproportionately affected our working class communities over recent decades. These are communities that have seen the increased pressure on their schools and hospitals and their wages remain low and rapid cultural changes in the towns in which they live.
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“Though undoubtedly true that the vast majority of those who have moved to our country under EU freedom of movement rules have made a positive contribution and have integrated fully, the simple truth is that this has not been the case for everyone who has taken advantage of EU freedom of movement rules and I believe our communities have been adversely affected because of this.”
The government is introducing a new immigration bill to change the current rules.
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Responding to Mr Hunt’s remarks, Mr Ellesmere said: “It is undoubtedly the case that concerns about immigration led to many people voting to leave the EU. However immigration is not as simple an issue as the Conservative Party would like to portray it.
“Every Thursday we clap NHS and social care staff. Many of them were not born in this country. These staff have not caused ‘extra pressure’ on services – they have stopped our NHS and social care systems from collapsing. They are in the frontline and a significant number have given their lives to look after our us.
“We also see reports of food being left to rot in the fields because we still cannot get British people willing to pick crops. What the government isn’t being honest about is that, even with this bill, immigration will still continue at high levels because the British economy simply won’t be able to cope without it.”