A friend of mine assisted a homeless man with some food over the weekend and listened to his story – it is not an unfamiliar one.
Walking on later, he saw the following poster from the local council asking for accommodation to house Syrian refugees and was so outraged he wrote to the Member of Parliament in the homeless man’s area
Dear Chris Grayling MP
There is a homeless man currently spending his nights sleeping in the doorway of a former mobile phone shop in Epsom’s Town centre between the Robert Dyas and the QEF charity shops. The man introduced himself to me as “Daley”.
Much was made in the recent General Election of the impending shortage of housing in both our area and England as a whole.
In Hillingdon, we have seen an 82% increase in population since 1939 (From 159,000 to 289,000) with the GLA estimating that we will see 316,000 people resident in our borough by 2039. Between 2001 and 2011 alone, the population grew by 30,000, three times the amount that was predicted.
Despite the building of new estates in Ruislip and West Drayton, with another currently underway on the old RAF site in Uxbridge, the shortfall in supply has seen prices to both buy and rent spiral to such a degree that the average age of a first time buyer is now nearly 40 and many of our children are unable to afford to leave home.
During the recent General Election campaign, I was asked a very good question at the Hayes & Harlington hustings – “With the debate on immigration being driven by negativity, how can we turn immigration from a negative back to being a positive?”
My answer was fairly detailed, but a part of it was reported in some media quarters as ‘silencing the room’ and by some on Twitter as being ‘disgusting’, so with the events of the last week I wish to put the record straight.
The answer, quite simply, is by regaining control of our borders so we can monitor both the quality and quantity of those wishing to come to the UK.
When I was growing up in the seventies and eighties, immigration was running at levels far below those of today. Moreover, before the advent of the European Union in its current form, we had the ability to say who we would and wouldn’t accept in to our country. Because of this, those coming here were predominantly looking to build a better life for themselves through hard work, skill set and integration. In my reply, I pointed to the Ugandan Asians who fled from Idi Amin as a great example of positive immigration, people who have settled and brought with them a tremendous work ethic that has benefitted both our country and their families who are now second and third generation Britons.
The NHS also benefited from immigration in the seventies, with gaps in the service being filled by newcomers taking up positions that we couldn’t fill from our own pool of workers.
I recently received your letter to residents announcing your intention to stand again for the Hayes & Harlington constituency in the General Election.
In your letter, you raise the issues of the NHS and the local housing crisis – Both are extremely important issues and you are quite right to highlight them.
Having read the letter, I would like to raise the following points.
1 – The NHS
You state that you fear a Conservative win at the next General Election will lead to the NHS being privatised and sold off. Whilst I share that fear, you appear to overlook the fact that your party (Labour) in government started the privatisation of the NHS and indeed introduced more privatisation to the service than the Coalition have done since taking power in 2010.
Last week saw the culmination of the Airports Commission Consultation in to expansion at Heathrow Airport and with it increased activity from those who oppose construction of the Third Runway.
The Commission is currently looking at three options to increase aviation capacity in the south of England – A new Northern Runway at Heathrow, an extension to one of the existing runways at Heathrow to enable it to operate as two, or a second runway at Gatwick.
With the deadline for submissions to the Commission being 3rd February, Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell called a public meeting in Sipson on the evening of 29th January to lay out what the proposals on the table were and how to respond to the consultation.
The following post is taken from the website of UKIP Hillingdon and announces my candidacy for the Hayes & Harlington seat at next year’s general election
Introducing your Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 General election
Cliff Dixon is the Chairman of UKIP Hillingdon branch and the ward representative for Charville
Cliff is a lifelong resident of the borough, born in Hillingdon, and has lived in both Hayes and Uxbridge.
Now in his mid-forties and married with two adult stepchildren, he joined the branch in 2011, being elected chairman the following year.
A communications professional with over 20 years experience, he is a familiar site in Hayes after stints running The Phone Shop in Hayes End Drive and Starline on the Uxbridge Road, as well as occasionally propping up the bar at The Wishing Well in Hayes End and indulging in some ear-splitting karaoke!