Time for a sensible debate on immigration

With the end of transitional controls on Romania and Bulgaria on 1st January and the subsequent unrestricted opening of our borders to their citizens under EU regulations, the subject of mass, uncontrolled immigration has emerged as one of the main topics that people in this country are concerned about.

3 Pinocchios

UKIP has been raising the subject for some time now, with our stance being purely about control of numbers to stop the massive strains being put on inadequate infrastructure in this country. This has led to numerous ‘smears’ from the old establishment political parties, from Cameron’s ‘closet racists’ to Clegg’s ‘unpatriotic isolationists’.

More recently, we have been subject to a casual smear in the Guardian by local Labour MP, John McDonnell.

Why John McDonnell is missing the point

On 20th January in The Guardian’s ‘comment is free’ section, Mr McDonnell accused UKIP of ‘bigotry against migrants’ (See link below)

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/20/2015-election-debate-peoples-parliament

For an MP in a working class area to use this kind of terminology is worrying, as it is predominantly the working class who are affected by the huge numbers currently arriving in England.

Social Housing

Homes in HayesWe have over 9000 people on the affordable housing waiting list in Hillingdon, some of whom no doubt he will be trying to assist to gain a place to live. With this in mind, how can loading yet more people in to the area when we are short of housing already be a sensible move? This is not bigotry, it is pure common sense – If your bath was full, you would not leave the taps running!

It also fuels the ‘housing bubble’ , with lack of supply pushing house prices up and having a huge knock on effect in private rental prices. This is further distorted where the council have to get involved to house a certain number of ‘Category A on need’ clients to hit targets and no longer have the stock to do so – Private landlords then charge premium rates knowing they have the upper hand in negotiations, with the council having to use your tax money in the shape of housing benefits to enable those category A clients to pay their rent.

With net migration running at nearly 200,000 per year, (With over 500,000 actually coming to the UK in 2013 according to the Office for National Statistics), we simply don’t have the housing available to be sustainable.

Labour recently put a leaflet through my door stating that they would get at least 200,000 houses built per year – In government between 1997 and 2010, they built an average of 24,299 per year (Source – Department for Communities and Local Government). Even if they do manage to build 200,00 a year, it won’t dent the lists (Presuming the prices are reasonable) – It also begs the question as to where the money will come from?

This situation has also seen the rise of the ‘beds in sheds’ phenomenon, with many immigrants having no alternative but to live in substandard and sometimes dangerous conditions. Most would have been better off in their own countries, but open door migration policies have allowed gangmasters to exploit them with promises of a better life in England. A friend of mine and local resident presented you with a dossier on this in your constituency 18 months ago as reported by The Gazette, yet the situation shows no sign of resolution.

The only sensible step is to stem the flood of people coming in whilst the current shortages are addressed.

Jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled workers

David Cameron 2We have over 20% of our 18-25 year olds out of work, yet we have more unskilled workers coming in to this country to compete with them in the jobs that often give youngsters their first foot up the ladder.

David Cameron’s answer has been to defend this by stating that our youngsters are ‘lacking in aspiration’ and ‘not up to the job’  – That is real bigotry, Mr McDonnell, not a principled objection to more oversupply in the unskilled jobs market.

Indeed, you are the Parliamentary representative for the Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMT) who recently ran a series of protests about what they refer to as ‘social dumping’ – The undercutting of British workers by cheap overseas labour (Link below)

http://union-news.co.uk/2012/08/rmt-in-dockside-protests-against-social-dumping-exploitation-of-foreign-workers/

It would appear that Comrade Crow agrees with us about the exploitation of foreign workers and the effects on his members – Does that make him a bigot?

Schools

Our branch recently assisted you with the protest about the building of a school on green belt land at Lake Farm Country Park. (Below, with my colleague Ilyas – Did you ask him about bigotry on the day, John?)

Lake Farm protest Nov 13 CD and Ilyas with banner

Whitehall school 1Whilst I am in full agreement that the school should be built on a brownfield site, the underlying reason why there are new schools needed at all is because of the massive surge in immigration and the subsequent rise in birth rate that drives the demand. In 2010, council leader Ray Puddifoot admitted this in the Gazette and said ‘it falls to us’ to provide the new schools.

The Office for National Statistics has released figures in the last week that show 26% of births in the UK are now to foreign born mothers. Moreover, birth rates amongst certain migrant groups are significantly higher than those of British born women from all backgrounds.

In 2011, the average for British born mothers was 1.84 children – The average for those from Afghanistan was 4.25 whilst to Somali born mothers it was 4.19. The Somali figure is particularly relevant in Hillingdon because we have a significant Somali community here, especially in your constituency.

Polish mothers had the highest overall numbers of children born to any ethnic group, with 20,495 being born in 2011 – Again, very relevant in Hillingdon because of the large numbers of Poles living here.

Because of this, it is no surprise that new schools are having to be built at great expense to the taxpayer, when we were closing schools such as Townmead in the nineties because of lack of demand

It is also a concern that many will not have English as a first language, thus disadvantaging them in the classroom and requiring additional support in terms of specialist teachers. This has a knock on effect with all children’s education in these schools and will potentially hold them back when they enter the world of work – Perhaps to be confronted by another wave of unskilled migrant workers, perpetuating the cycle?

 

Time to debate the issues

Uxbridge street stall Oct 2013 with MS MG and Ilyas

There are many other reasons why uncontrolled immigration is harming both our communities and the economy – Destruction of green belt for housing, increased crime through lack of border checks and strain on the NHS to name just a few.

 

Properly controlled, immigration can be beneficial to our country as has been seen in the past, but the last 10-15 years is completely unsustainable based on numbers as I have pointed out in this piece.

 

I would be happy to debate with John McDonnell on this if he so chooses – Indeed, his Guardian piece claims that he would welcome more debate outside of the ‘sterile’ atmosphere of the House of Commons.

 

UKIP will be running a series of free public meetings across Hillingdon in the near future featuring a number of issues affecting our borough – Immigration will be one of the issues discussed no doubt, along with the EU, economy, law and order, HS2 and The Third Runway at Heathrow amongst others.

Rather than asking people to travel to Westminster for a ‘People’s Parliament’, UKIP are made up of ordinary people from all sections of our community who wish to discuss and debate the real issues with real local residents where they live.

Nigel Farage in Beaconsfield Jan 2014

A recent meeting in neighbouring South Bucks saw over 400 people turn out to see party leader Nigel Farage MEP in Beaconsfield (Above), where a show of hands saw less than a quarter of the audience as UKIP members and a lively Q&A was had.

We hope to see you soon for a grown up debate in similar fashion.

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The truth about mass,uncontrolled immigration

Neil Hamilton wrote the following article, which was published in the Sunday Express on 7th July, summing up a number of problems with uncontrolled mass immigration.  I reproduce his article in full:

Neil Hamilton

A series of government reports last week exposed the horrifying break-up of traditional Britain.  The latest census revealed that immigrants account for 25 per cent of the population of our largest cities.  Nearly a third of residents of these cities are members of a non-white ethnic minority and almost one in 10 homes has not a single person speaking English as a first language.  Department for Education figures reveal three in 10 primary school pupils are from ethnic minorities.  More than one million children do not speak English as their first language at home.  In large parts of London native English-speakers are in the minority.  A Home Office report, Social And Public Service Impacts Of International Migration At The Local Level, said that every year since 1998 net migration has been above 100,000, peaking at 255,000 in 2010.

We have never known anything like this in the history of these islands.  With the exception of wartime, more people immigrated to the UK in a single year, 2010, than from 1066 to 1950. Between 2004-2011 the number of Poles living in the UK leapt from 69,000 to 687,000.  The report concluded that half of Britons report strain on schools, hospitals, transport, housing and employment as a result of mass immigration.  While acknowledging the hugely important work carried out by foreign doctors and nurses, researchers revealed the pressure exerted on the NHS. 
In a single year 73 per cent of TB cases and almost 60 per cent of newly diagnosed HIV cases involved people born outside the UK.

And 80 per cent of hepatitis B-infected UK blood donors were born abroad. Experts questioned by the Home Office agreed the “high birth rates of some migrant groups produce additional demands on midwifery, maternity and health visiting services”.  Health staff said that appointments and visits could take twice as long where patients had poor English, putting significant pressure on other areas.  In housing, large numbers of low-skilled migrants wanting private rented property are driving up prices. In the jobs market hundreds of thousands of immigrants chasing low-skilled jobs have driven pay down to minimum wage levels. With a million young people aged 16-24 out of work this is madness.

The last Labour government encouraged mass immigration “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity” according to Tony Blair’s adviser Andrew Neather. They also calculated it would boost the number of Labour voters.  The scale of migration has been so great that irreversible changes have been made to large swathes of the country. Ethnic division is a reality and the problem is getting worse, with 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians potentially to add to the mix next year.  Although much of the blame lies with Labour ministers, including Ed Miliband, the Tories are little better.  What could David Cameron have been thinking when he said last week that he wants to expand the EU as far as Kazakhstan and the Urals?  If you liked opening our borders to every Romanian and Bulgarian you’ll just love the Kazakhs, Moldavians and Azerbaijanis. Not to mention 75 million Turks, whose application to join the EU he also enthusiastically supports.

Boris Johnson at Talk London event

Unfortunately Cameron isn’t the only swivel-eyed loon in the Conservative Party. A few days ago Boris Johnson backed the call by a Tory backbench MP for an amnesty for up to a million illegal immigrants.  In the next 15 years the UK population will grow by over seven million to 70 million. Five million of that will be due to immigration.  No wonder Tory planning minister Nick Boles is so manic about the need to concrete over three million acres of England.  We must build a new home every seven minutes for new migrants. England is with Holland the most crowded country in Europe, excluding city states. We have 400 people per sq km compared with 252 in Germany and 114 in France.

We have been lied to by Conservative, Labour and Liberal politicians throughout my lifetime as to the scale and effect of immigration.  Their stock riposte to those speaking out was to accuse us of being racist.  It is now clear we were right. The debate was always about space, not race…and the preservation of England’s cultural identity.

Hillingdon Council and Lake Farm – More short term fixes for long term misery

On Friday 1st March, Hillingdon Council called an emergency planning meeting for just 4 days later to push through their plans for construction of a new school on the green belt at Lake Farm Country Park.

Lake Farm signRegular visitors to this site will have seen how the council’s plans have been progressed on this issue in what can only be described as an ‘irregular’ manner, from the initial decision that there was an ‘overwhelming need’ for a new school overriding the green belt status of the site, through test coring being seen by local residents prior to any planning permission being given, through to the decision to slip the planning application through at the end of the last planning meeting before Christmas with an 8th January deadline for objections(Maybe in the hope that we wouldn’t notice over the festive season?)

After the December submission of the plans, UKIP Hillingdon activists went door to door in the area with details of the proposal and where to put your complaint in to, whilst John McDonnell MP took another march through Hayes Town to raise awareness. On top of the petitions already submitted, this must have made the council very aware of the strength of local feeling against use of this land for the new school and may well explain why they convened the March 5th Planning Committee on such short notice to try and force it through.

Central & South Planning Committee Meeting

Arriving at the Civic Centre straight from work for the 7pm start, I could see that a large part of the council chamber was taken up with familiar faces from the meetings and protest marches that I had participated in throughout the year.

Taking my seat, I picked up the public document pack and planning drawings that were provided and listened to the presentation being made by the planning team at the front of the hall.

The statistics presented pointed out that there would need to be an 18% increase in primary school places between 2012 and 2020 and that the three wards surrounding Lake Farm (Botwell,Pinkwell and Townfield) had all shown an above average increase in need for these places of 21% between 2001 and 2011 based on census data – This compared with a 13% increase across Hillingdon as a whole in the same period.

The reasons for these increases were explained to be immigration,increased birthrate and new housing that had been built in the area increasing the local population.

It was pointed out that after the construction of the new school, 87 % of the country park would be left intact and that various ‘landscaping’ features have been built in to the proposal to limit the impact on the surrounding environment.

Also wheeled out at this point on a slide (Which was not in the provided information pack) was a graph of surplus vs shortfall of school places based on ECS SRP 2012 figures that was supposed to back up the council stance on the construction of a 4 form of entry school. This created a stir in the room as John McDonnell forcibly made the point that this information had been withheld in all the previous submissions and seemed to be a ‘smoking gun’ put in to the room for the express purpose of directing towards building of the school without the chance of the figures being checked before a decision was to be made. Chairman of the meeting Cllr John Hensley threatened to remove the MP from the meeting at this point if he did not calm down.

Lake Farm Country Park

Once order was restored, Mr McDonnell put his case that the proposal was flawed and that the council should be looking at 3 forms of entry in total, not 3 forms of entry in one school.Indeed, it was put to the committee at this point that government education officials were meeting with Guru Nanak school in Hayes within 24 hours to discuss 4 new forms of entry there which would render the need for 3 new forms at any of the sites unnecessary.

It was also pointed out that there are ongoing discussions about an additional form of entry being added at Rosedale school.

Unfortunately, the planning committee decided that these additional places could not be taken in to account as there were no concrete plans in place – A request to delay decision on Lake Farm until a report back on the expansion of Guru Nanak was flatly ruled out, despite the delay needed being just a few weeks.

Representations were then put forward by a number of local people who had petitioned against the development.

First up was Scott Dick who put the case from the local dog walkers perspective, followed by Peter MacDonald who pointed out that if this was allowed to go ahead and over 10% of the park goes then the council would be back at a later date for more as had been seen down the years in other developments.

Linda Chapman then put the case for the walkers,joggers and exercisers whilst the final presentation came in the form of a particularly eloquent speech about traffic and air pollution issues from David Mackie.

Local councillors followed putting their points forward – Janet Duncan asked why there was a need to build a school so big and what the council termed as the ‘special circumstances’ that led to the proposal whilst touching on safety issues (Please see note at the end of this post), Phoday Jarjussey spoke of additional congestion and Mo Khursheed brought up the original use of section 106 money from Stockley Park development that led to the creation of the country park.

This final point I found particularly interesting, namely that in order to build what at the time was called ‘The Trident Site’ at Stockley Park that money paid to the council by the developers under Section 106 rules was used to replace green areas lost in that construction and the money was used to cultivate Lake Farm Country Park. Effectively, the council had ruled previously that the green areas needed to be replaced and had used taxpayers money to do it – Now they were saying that they were prepared to ignore that need and ‘write off’ that investment. The planning officer dismissed this by saying that under ‘special circumstances’ this use of section 106 money was not relevant, but despite pressing from both Cllr Khursheed and Cllr Duncan refused once again to give a definition of ‘special circumstances’.

Alternative sites were also asked about, as the committee kept insisting that 26 sites had been assessed and found to be unsuitable – After much pressing, they gave the list. I didn’t get them all down, but some were quite laughable (The Woolpack public house on Dawley Road, for example) but they had also written off such viable alternatives as the old Hayes Swimming Pool and the Vinyl Factory on the EMI site. (In view of their decision to build on green belt, it was also ominous to hear that they had considered Minet Country Park, showing that the council have their eyes on a number of previously off limits sites.)

They claimed that the swimming pool was unsuitable because there were a small number of parking spaces on the site that they were contractually obliged to offer to the community centre opposite and that the ground was polluted – The latter assertion was challenged by David Mackie who used to maintain the emergency valves under the pool, but his point was ignored.

They didn’t give an answer on many of the others, including the Vinyl Factory, but reading between the lines it is clear that such sites are earmarked for prestige housing developments which will be out of the reach of local people to afford and will merely compound the school shortages issue by bringing yet more people in to the area.

After around two hours of debate, a vote was taken on the planning committee and the plans were approved with all the Conservative councillors in favour. A fire alarm was then triggered, and we filed out of the front of the building to be confronted by a large sheet suspended between two lampposts as can be seen in the picture below

Lake Farm banner

Short term gain for long term misery

This is not the first time I have been present at a planning meeting where the decision already appears to be made before anyone enters the room.

Back in 2011, the planning committee approved house building on covenant land on the Glenister estate off of Minet Drive. The argument then was that they were just giving planning permission and that for the covenant to be enforced would require legal action, which upon checking with a solicitor I was advised would probably cost in the region of £80,000 to pursue via the courts with no guarantee of success.

Ironically, it is sites such as these that have led to the need for more school places in the south of the borough.

During last year’s hearings in to Hillingdon Council’s local plan, (The blueprint laid down for planning in the borough for the next 15 years), 75% of the borough’s total new housing was planned to be in Uxbridge and the Hayes/West Drayton corridor. We were also advised that our open spaces would not be under threat and green belt would remain protected, yet within 12 months the council has ignored this pledge and is attempting to build on Lake Farm under ‘special circumstances’.

So what are these ‘special circumstances’? If we are talking of a population explosion, that can hardly be called unexpected. Indeed, with the Local plan concentrating development in the south of the borough then the need for additional infrastructure in the way of school places has been guaranteed.

So, why the green belt land that was supposedly not at risk? There are adequate brown field sites available to construct a school, but according to Councillor Dominic Gilham ,who voted in favour of Lake Farm destruction, “We will not educate in disused libraries,bingo halls or cinemas.We are Hillingdon Conservatives we look after are (sic) residents” (Sent to me on Twitter) Actually Dominic, I feel that there are other reasons why you don’t build on brown field sites – Firstly, it is more expensive than just hacking up another swathe of green belt and secondly, those ‘brown field’ sites are already earmarked for selling off to your developer friends, thus creating more overpopulation and even more need for additional school places.

With the impending arrival of Crossrail, development companies are becoming increasingly interested in the real estate around Hayes and I feel that this certainly colours the thinking of planning committees who can see advantages to selling off public land for a quick profit.

Whilst regeneration of Hayes and West Drayton is vitally important to the wellbeing of our community, this is turning in to a double edged sword. For example, the aforementioned Vinyl Factory on the old EMI site is being developed in to what looks like an impressive project, but the downside is the additional strain it will put on existing infrastructure such as transport links, the NHS and schools. Section 106 money paid by the development companies to the council is supposed to be used to prop up such infrastructure, but as seen at the planning meeting  with regards to the 106 monies used to build Lake Farm the council have a short term vision for it and are happy to write it off when circumstances require. There is still confusion surrounding where the 106 money for the Glenister Estate has gone!

Moreover, a lot of the developments that are being planned do not fit with the existing needs of the community.

Currently, we have around 9000 people on the waiting list for affordable housing in Hillingdon. Now look at the High Point project in Hayes Town centre that was supposed to be part of the regeneration – Once the social housing aspect was allocated (Most to people from outside of the borough and with no real community links here), half of the buyers for the final ‘Navigation block’ were overseas investors as uncovered by Jack Griffith reporting for the Gazette in March last year.

Such investors subsequently let the properties out privately, which with the shortage of affordable housing in the area then become expensive homes for the low paid in the private sector subsidised by state housing benefit. Meanwhile, those investors see their ‘asset’ appreciate in value as the shortages continue.

This is not just happening in Hillingdon, but across London – The balance between housebuilding to support the community and housebuilding as an ‘investment opportunity’ needs to be balanced far better than we are seeing at the current time, both from a community and a public cost point of view.

Lake Farm Country Park Demo 3

Why Lake Farm is the wrong choice

In sitting through the planning committee meeting, there were a number of points put forward that were glossed over or ignored.

Firstly, with a meeting the next day between education officials and Guru Nanak school, plus the proposed Rosedale additional form of entry, why did the committee not grant a small delay of say two weeks to see what other proposals would be put forward? Why the unseemly rush to get this through against the wishes of the local community? With figures brought forward on the night without prior disclosure, what other circumstances behind the application have not been put before the public for scrutiny?

Congestion issues have not been properly addressed, either. My friend Dean used to live in Goulds Green and would sometimes pick me up for work from Cowley High Street when my car was off the road – This trip would take him the best part of an hour in morning rush hour with the congestion around Merrymans Corner. Indeed, Transport for London have already asked questions concerning disruption to bus services on the Dawley Road based around the Lake Farm proposal, with London Mayor Boris Johnson also raising concerns a couple of months back. We were assured on the night that those concerns had been addressed, but no details were put forward.

With the road being so busy, this also poses real safety issues where young children are concerned – Dawley Road already has some safety issues, and the traffic calming measures that are being proposed to cut back on this will just cause further congestion without taking away the very real threat to the health of the children both by vehicle impact and through pollution caused by queing cars,buses and lorries.

Peter MacDonald also made a very valid point about the council coming back for more green belt land if this was approved. Primary school children become secondary school children, and where will they go once they have completed their primary education? Would we then see more green belt land taken on Lake Farm under ‘exceptional circumstances’ for a secondary school? After all, the committee said that 26 sites had been assessed and found unsuitable, so looking a few years ahead where would they suggest that the secondary school could be sited?

Personally, I found the reasons behind turning down the old Hayes swimming pool quite superficial. The parking spaces that the council are ‘contracted’ to supply could easily be renogotiated and relocated to the site in Pump Lane that is shortly to undergo upgrade work and is rarely full. The ‘contaminated ground’ excuse was pretty clearly disputed by David Mackie from personal experience, but even if it was the case then surely the ground could be treated and this sorted out? My gut feeling is that the council have already decided to sell the land for yet more housing development, despite both the central location of the site and the readily available transport links making it more suitable than the green belt land. Again, such short term thinking will merely fuel yet further need for school places.

Combining a small development at the old pool site with additional extensions at Rosedale, Guru Nank and possibly Hewens College would surely make more sense from a point of view of spreading the load across the infrastructure in Hayes and utilising existing public transport links.

I am sure the council know this, but it would be cheaper for them building on green belt rather than brown field sites, plus they can sell the brown field sites to developers for decent money whilst they are unable to sell green belt land.

Call me cynical, but Hillingdon Council built the old Townmead school on green belt land because of outstanding need – When that need was no longer there, rather than returning it to green belt they put a housing estate on it, an estate they would never have got through had it still had protected status.

Lake Farm protesters 5-3-13

John McDonnell MP and protesters outside the Civic Centre after the Lake Farm decision

A local Issue – But a National Problem

With the coalition government desperate to kick start the economy, they have passed measures making it easier for councils to justify destroying our green spaces. Whilst the economy must be a national priority to give us all a better future, the thinking behind this move is flawed from the very outset as seen by various points in this post.

Locally, our council have an atrocious record of ignoring the wishes of the residents when it comes to major decisions about construction in the area. Local people should have the final say when it comes to such issues.

Nationally, this crisis of both affordable housing and school places has been created by the policies of open door mass immigration of the Old Labour government and the failure of the current one to bring the numbers down. The last census results showed that population growth locally was three times the estimate put forward by Hillingdon council in the late nineties (Source – Hillingdon Council website).

The pressure will be further ratcheted up next year when the last of the old Eastern bloc EU countries, Romania and Bulgaria, see all transitional immigration controls removed, allowing free movement of all citizens between those countries and other members of the EU. The figures are unclear, with the government refusing to state how many will come and Foreign Secretary William Hague revealing on the BBC Politics show a fortnight ago that he can’t give a number as ‘We (the government)don’t know’.

Independent think tank Migration Watch say fifty thousand per year, whilst a poll conducted by the Bulgarian National TV channel suggested that 54% of their total population of 7.5 million would like to come here.

Whatever the real figure, with Heathrow Airport in the borough then the initial pressure for housing and services will fall once again on Hillingdon. 

Locally, we need to put in place a mechanism via referendum that will allow local residents to have the final say on issues such as Lake Farm, whilst at a national level we need to get a grip on mass immigration to ease the pressure on our creaking infrastructure.

Funnily enough, I know of just one  political party that has the policies in place both locally and nationally to achieve these goals – That party is UKIP.

 

Note re ‘special circumstances’ comment from Cllr Janet Duncan. Cllr Janet Gardiner has contacted me to point out that this objection was raised by her and not Cllr Duncan. Whilst this is not my recollection,I am happy to put this amendment on to my post in case there may be a factual error by myself. It is also gratifying to know that this blog is now regularly followed by local Labour as well as Conservative councillors – First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they attack you, then you win! (Gandhi)

 

CD in Yiewsley Feb 2013

Cliff Dixon is UKIP Hillingdon chairman and will be standing in the 2014 local elections in Hayes

A reply to Mary Beard

 UKIP Party leader Nigel Farage appeared on BBC Question Time on Thursday 17th January, which on that particular night was being filmed in Lincoln.

One of the issues being discussed was mass immigration and a local lady from Boston, Rachel Bull, put forward her point of view on how mass immigration was affecting her home town (See below)

On the panel with Nigel was Cambridge University academic and TV presenter Mary Beard, most famous for her BBC 2 show about the Romans. Ms Beard put forward her view that ‘public services can cope’ with a further influx of migrants from Eastern Europe and that there are ‘myths’ surrounding immigration in her counter argument to the personal experiences of Ms Bull.

Ms Beard quoted from a report published by Boston Council and her response can be seen on the video below

Living in an area that has seen a large amount of immigration over the last thirty years, I posted a link to an article from a national newspaper the following day on my political Facebook page and stated that “Mary Beard is typical of the establishment,preferring statistics over eye witness accounts” – This automatically re-posts to my English Patriot Twitter Feed. To my surprise, Ms Beard actually picked up on this and all credit to her for mounting a defence to her point of view in a conversation spanning a few days on the social networking site.

Unfortunately, Twitter is a very difficult medium to have a proper debate on what Mary herself calls a ‘very complicated issue’ with the limitation of 140 characters, so in this post I will outline why I think she is wrong both from statistics and personal experience.

Before I start, I would like to retract the accusation that Ms Beard is typical of the establishment because unlike many she was prepared to debate her point with good grace and in the face of some determined resistance from myself to her line of logic. She has also received some pretty strong abuse over it from some quarters – Whilst I disagree with her point of view, personal insults do nobody any favours and the mass immigration debate needs to be had without unnecessary unpleasantness. After all, how many of us who have laid down the argument against from a logical point of view in terms of numbers and infrastructure capacity been abused as ‘racists’ over the last twenty years?

Mary Beard

Above – Mary Beard on BBC Question Time (Photograph courtesy of the BBC)

Statistics

I am a great believer in the ultimate truth of quoting statistics – The stat’s you get out are only as good as the information you put in. Ms Beard quoted from statistics put out by Boston Borough Council about how they could ‘cope’.

Firstly, you have to ask yourself the following question – How many councils will admit that they can’t cope? In these days of increased media scrutiny, admitting that you can’t cope is tantamount to asking the electorate to give you a good kicking at the next election, especially if your council is made up of predominently the same party who are in power nationally.

Now let’s look at some statistics from other organisations that would refute the argument that is being put forward.

Firstly, there is a report that has come in from a body of the government’s own MP’s on the ‘Fresh Start’ Group in January which states that a quarter of the EU nationals living in the UK are not working. That is above the national average for UK born citizens from all backgrounds, and being EU nationals they are entitled to benefits from a system that our own government is trying to rein in. This flies in the face of Ms Beard’s assertion that the migrants in Lincolnshire are not a drain on the public purse unless they are bucking a national trend.

Even if they are, then they are an isolated case in the overall picture.

Then we have the following figures from the ONS (Office of National Statistics). Taken from 2009, a quarter of all births across the UK were to foreign born mothers – In Newham, East London, 75.7 % of births were accredited to this source. This puts an immense strain on the NHS and will ultimately fuel pressure on school places and then housing. In my own home borough of Hillingdon, the population has grown by 30,000 in ten years – More than three times the government’s own estimated growth figures.

In the last two years, the number of people on the affordable housing waiting list has reached nearly nine thousand (The last printed council figure quoted in the Gazette in September 2011 was 7586) , whilst the council are now looking at building on green belt land to satisfy predicted demand for primary school places.

The NHS

imagesCACG9UV0

Our National Health Service has been put under tremendous pressure by the amount of migrants using it. Alongside the increase in usage of maternity services, £45,000 per day is spent on translation services as uncovered by a Freedom of Information request submitted by Tory MP Nick De Bois reported in the Express in July of last year.

Taxpayers suffering from cancer in England have also been denied life saving drugs such as Abiroterone and Herceptin due to cost, yet the European Court of Human Rights has insisted that migrants should be treated for HIV/AIDS on the NHS – A move supported by the government as it will  ‘Reduce the risk of Britons being infected’. I think better border controls are probably a less expensive way of stopping Britons becoming infected, but that is just my point of view.

We have also seen in recent years the resurgence of diseases such as TB that had been successfully eradicated from our country in the seventies and eighties by innoculation programmes  – Another direct result of uncontrolled immigration where health checks are not carried out due to non-existent border controls.

Then we have the ridiculous situation where women from countries such as Ireland and Poland where abortion is banned can come to the UK to have the procedure carried out and then hop back on the plane leaving the NHS to pick up the tab.

Employment

Olympic stadiumThe Olympic Games in London last year was supposed to be a pick me up to the local economy in the face of austerity. Large amounts of public funding were put in to building the stadia and facilities to host the games, not least on the showpiece stadium in Stratford.

Yet figures from The Olympic Delivery Agency showed that of over six thousand jobs on the construction of the main site, less than a thousand went to UK born construction workers. Moreover, much of the public money going in to pay wages was sent overseas to fund the families of the migrant workers rather than being spent in the local community, thus depriving the area of additional job creation.

It is a pattern that has been repeated frequently in the last ten years, with migrant workers living five and six to a house sharing the bills and thus being able to easily undercut skilled tradesmen already here with mortgages to pay and families to keep. I have friends locally in trades including plumbing,plastering and electrical who tell me that they are earning less now than they were fifteen years ago whilst their overheads both in their working and personal lives have increased dramatically.

But it is not just in the construction trade that this has happened. My friend Kevin spent thousands of pounds of his own money on passing the HGV class 1 qualification so he could drive large lorries. He is now one of just two English drivers left within his company as the management have employed far cheaper Eastern European drivers who have not had to go through the rigorous training that he did and can drive on our roads with a basic tractor license from their own countries. Kevin now gets the difficult jobs as his Polish colleagues are unable to manoeuvre the large vehicles around the tighter streets on his route, whilst overtime and pay rises are out of the question. Road safety is also secondary to the EU free movement of workers regulations in cases such as this.

Something that also needs to be brought in to the equation and cannot be covered by statistics is the ‘black economy’, where cheap migrant labour is imported and the workers live in sub standard and often illegal accommodation. I have seen this for myself locally when I stayed over at a flat above a previous employers shop in neighbouring Southall.

Getting up early in the morning, I viewed numerous people leaving what appeared to be extensions on the back of houses from my vantage point in the first floor flat and getting in to the back of white vans. When I asked my friend Hardeep the next day what was going on, he advised me that this is a regular occurence and that the people I had seen were going out to work on the building sites in the area. Many of these workers are not registered and paid ‘cash in hand’, thus avoiding tax and keeping their employers overheads down – Employers who can then undercut other firms who are tendering legitimately for the same work.

This practice not only damages the economy, it also exploits the migrant workers who in many cases have come looking to better the lives of themselves and their families. This practice has also spread and created a situation in my own borough of Hillingdon where it is referred to as ‘beds in sheds’, a phenomenon that caused a local man to document information and pass it to me showing how planning has been abused to further the spread of this particular problem. The file has also been passed to one of the local MP’s and the council, who have claimed that they can’t track what is happening – A clear case of burying their heads in the sand on an issue that affects local communities, the environment, the employment market and also the wellbeing of those being abused in the labour market in this way.

Housing

Estate agent board

One of the areas where the effects of mass immigration in my locality are most keenly felt is in the availability of housing.

When the Conservative government of the day brought in right to buy of the council housing stock, they made the fundamental mistake of not taking the money raised and re-investing in new stock for the next generation. This has now been compounded by open-door immigration – With Heathrow Airport in the borough, we are often on the front line of any new influx.

The figures are pretty damning – The English Housing Survey as reported by Migrationwatch states that around 20% of all the social housing stock in London is occupied by foreign nationals.

Another survey based around ONS statistics from 2008 that Migrationwatch published shows the percentage of population living in social housing broken down in to ethnic groupings – Whilst UK born residents are shown at 17%, our EU partners Portugal have a 40% rate of dependency on social housing in the survey, whilst Turkey (Whom Prime Minister David Cameron wants to join the EU) have a 49% dependency – Somali born residents are quoted at a massive 80%. That final figure is particularly relevant to us in Hillingdon as we have a fast growing Somali community, most notably in Hayes and the south of the borough. Unfortunately, as picked up on by The Mail last month, such surveys in the future may be meaningless as councils are increasingly leaving out the nationalities of those they place in social housing as it is ‘politically sensitive’.

But enough of the statistics, which I have already stated earlier can be interpreted in many ways and are not always accurate – What of the reality on the ground, the real stories that affect people such as Rachel Bull?

My own family has been moved around various accomodation in Hillingdon in the private rented sector. Because both my wife and myself work, we are not considered a priority for Hillingdon Council and because of the high price of property we can’t afford a mortgage. Saving up for a large deposit is definitely a no go as the private rents are increasing at such a rate that over half of our income goes just to pay rent before other bills are taken in to consideration.

What is particularly galling is that many times we have been moved it has been down to the council needing property for their ‘category A on need’ clients and out-bidding us on our existing property. Before we met, my wife was moved out of a property in Hayes at the end of her lease as the landlord was being paid more by the council to take a Somalian family, I was evicted from Yeading to make way for Kosovan refugees and since we met and married we have been moved from Hayes End Drive to make way for an Asian family and from our last house as the landlord wanted to put foreign students in. This is not the fault of the immigrants, but of the ridiculous system that the council uses to allocate on ‘need’.

A prime example that I have seen at first hand is the situation of one of my best friends. When his girlfriend became accidentally pregnant, they started to look for a property they could live in together. Despite his wages being insufficient for a mortgage, the council would do nothing.

The flat they found that they could afford was cold and damp,leading to their young son becoming ill and needing major surgery – Still Hillingdon Council would do nothing until they got a letter from the surgeon who carried out his life saving operation stating that unless they housed the family in decent accomodation he would hold the council responsible for the childs death. (Amazing how the thought of litigation can focus the mind of the most stubborn Council!)

They were in emergency housing for TEN YEARS, whilst all around them migrants were coming on to the estate and being re-homed within months. When they finally got the permanent home they had waited for,it was in a sorry state and we all pitched in to help them renovate it.

Living opposite them in a council property are a migrant family who my friend talks with. They have not worked since entering the UK, and the wife recently had their seventh child. The husband excitedly told my friend that the council are moving them soon as the house has become ‘too small’ for his growing family. They also have a late model people carrier sat on their drive that my firend, who works and pays tax, would struggle to afford!

With the EU demanding that the borders are opened fully to Bulgarian and Romanian migrants from 1st January next year, this is a situation that can only get worse as housing availability dwindles and prices rise – Indeed, this has not only fuelled the ‘beds in sheds’ debacle but neighbouring Southall now has people sleeping rough in groups in parts of the town.

Hillingdon-20120407-00059

Above – Migrants picking out clothing from bags left outside a charity shop in Harlington last year

Mass Immigration – A problem for us all

I hope that Mary Beard now gets some idea of what ordinary people are seeing as their towns and cities are transformed from the communities we knew barely twenty years ago.

Ultimately, nobody benefits from this in the long term – Locals are crowded out and see their standard of living drop, the migrants that work are frequently exploited and end up with a poor standard of life whilst as taxpayers we all see the amount we pay to both local and central government go up as a direct result of the pressures that have been laid out in this post.

Until we leave the EU, regain control of our borders and introduce an Australian style points system that limits the numbers coming to those that our communities can absorb and with skills that benefit all, then the subject of mass uncontrolled immigration will continue to be a contentious issue at the top of the political agenda.

More importantly, as numbers grow, it will be an issue that spreads to university towns such as Cambridge and, as Mary will find out, becomes a problem affecting us all.

‘Aspiration Nation’ – Or when actions fail to meet the rhetoric

Last Wednesday during my lunch break at work,I sat and watched David Cameron’s leaders speech to the Conservative Party Conference. It took me longer than usual to finish my sandwiches as my jaw was dropping at many points during his presentation where I couldn’t quite equate what I was hearing to the reality in England today.

To make sure that I had not got his message wrong, I took notes from about a quarter of the way in and have just sat and reviewed them. Following is a potted overview of some of the main points of what he put across against the reality as seen since the Coalition came to power in 2010.

‘We should be proud of our armed forces’

Absolutely David, I couldn’t agree more. It is nice to see our government giving our troops the best equipment, good wages, their families decent homes to live in and proper care for the wounded when they return from active duty……Oh, sorry, that isn’t quite the reality is it?

Government cutbacks mean that some of our troops currently putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan will be receiving their redundancy notices just days after Christmas. Many of those serving have had to supplement their army issue kit with more suitable equipment paid for by their families and sent from home such as boots that don’t melt in the heat – This has led to some comments from other troops in the ISAF forces about our boys being ‘scruffy’ where uniforms do not match.

More damning is the government’s failure to invest in proper protective gear and the MOD’s insistence on using lightly protected ‘Snatch’ Land Rovers for our boys that are leading to more fatalities and woundings from IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) than are necessary. Pictures such as the one above of a friend of mine planting a cross on Remembrance Day for her lost son are tragically more common than they need to be.

Our soldiers are only allowed to return rather than initiate fire in many cases, and engagements after dark are frowned upon (Where the technical superiority of the coalition forces weaponry would do the most harm to the enemy)

 Whilst our soldiers are on tour, what of their families? Many of the homes that they live in are substandard – Former RAF billets locally in Cowley were sold to a private housing association who gutted them out and completely refurbished them as they were ‘not up to scratch’. Ironically, a number who now live in these homes are asylum seekers from the countries that our forces have been deployed to.

Between January and March 2011, The Army Families Federation had almost 1000 complaints concerning sub-standard housing (Source – The Sunday Express, 3/7/11).  Money is being thrown down a black hole on maintenance contracts to companies such as Annington Homes and Modern Housing Solutions who were given costly PFI contracts by the previous government and not on upgrading the stock to the levels that our Force’s families deserve.

Then we have the treatment of our soldiers when they leave the service. There has been an unspoken ‘military covenant’ for years regarding looking after those who have returned. Yet we see cases such as those of Private Alex Stringer who lost three limbs serving in Afghanistan yet is given a tiny sixth floor flat with his family in Essex when it is clear that this will be inadequate for someone who has suffered such injuries.

A further case includes Royal Marine Michael Glen who served two tours and was enlisted for eight years yet when he decided to leave the service to support his three children upon the breakdown of his marriage was told by council chiefs that he ‘does not qualify’ for a home and needs to book in to a homeless hostel.

Contrast this with such recent cases as the Bulgarian family who were housed within two weeks of pitching a tent in London as they had children who had to be a priority, or Somali refugee Abdi Nur whose family were re-housed in Kensington because he ‘didn’t like’ the area of North London that his family were living in, despite never having held down a job and paid in to the system since coming to England.

Our government’s treatment of our armed forces has resulted in a march this coming Thursday against the axeing of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers to Parliament, the first time the Army have demonstrated on the streets of London since 1649 and the first time EVER that troops of The British Army have done so since it’s formation in 1707 following the Act of Union. 

It would appear that the government’s treatment of our armed forces is also not limited to just current servicemen as has been seen by their decision to stop the award of one of Russia’s highest decorations to the Royal Navy seamen who manned the treacherous Arctic convoys during World War 2. Their reason? – It would ‘break the rules’  (Link below)

Russia Today on the Arctic Convoy Medals

‘Housing benefits must be cut and we must make it pay to work rather than to live on benefits’

Quite right, Prime Minister – There is far too much money paid out of the public purse on housing benefit and the whole benefits culture needs to be looked at and work made a more attractive proposition.

However……Why is the housing benefits bill so high in the first place? Under ‘right to buy’, many council properties were sold to their tenants to get them on the housing ladder and boost the market. This was all well and good, except that the stock sold off was never replaced.

Now we have a situation where councils are confronted with overdemand for what is left of their social housing and are having to rent from private landlords. Like any ‘supply and demand’ situation, lack of supply is driving the prices up whilst mass immigration is piling more demand on to an already overheated situation.

With the housing benefit cap coming in to place in the more expensive areas of Central London, this is exacerbating the situation in outer London boroughs such as Hillingdon where rents are now rising to MEET the cap as people move out of property they can no longer afford. Because they are not ‘intentionally’ homeless, then Hillingdon Council has to find them accommodation and the cycle of inflated prices continues.

Add in to the mix the rises on private rents for low paid workers and this causes more need for housing benefit and also disincentivises these people from working – After all, if the council will pay ALL your rent via housing benefit if you are unemployed and you then have your dole money on top what is the point of doing a 40 hour week and being less well off? The influx of migrant workers living six and more to a house and sharing the bills is also driving wages down whilst adding an extra fuel to housing demand and pricing.

My family has had to constantly move around the borough as our private landlords assess their options at the end of a 12 month lease – Because we both work we are not considered a priority case by Hillingdon Council (Despite being life long borough residents) and have to compete against social tenants backed with housing benefit money in the private rental sector. Sadly, if neither of us worked we would gain extra points on the ‘need’ scale and would probably be more secure in the letting arena backed with taxpayers money!

Until the government gets a grip on mass immigration and more affordable housing becomes available in both the public and private sector, the issue of housing benefit will continue to be a thorny one. 

With regards to cutting the rest of the benefits bill – Work must pay to give people the incentive to work, but the situation I have laid out above shows why there must be progress with affordable housing as a starting point.

This is also without the other elephant in the room – The EU. David Cameron can talk tough on cutting benefits all he likes, but the European Union are currently preparing to take the British government to court to ensure that all EU citizens have the same right to benefits here as our own. With many of the countries of Europe in economic turmoil with the breakdown of the Eurozone, how many will see the UK and our relatively generous benefits system as a tempting alternative?

‘We need to get people off of benefits and back to work’

Indeed we do, Prime Minister. However, there are a few impediments to doing this.

Firstly, we are in the middle of a recession. The only way out of this is to generate goods and services in the private sector that will fuel demand and stimulate growth, for which we need our entrepreneurs and small businessmen to flourish. They can then look at employing more people to sell these goods and services, earning money which can be spent in the local economy, stimulating more businesses and more jobs.

However, at the present time they are hamstrung by red tape and the cost of employing new staff. The growth of part time as opposed to full time jobs is probably driven by the desire on the side of the employer to keep his National Insurance contributions down. This ‘tax on jobs’ has also fuelled the growth of the ‘black economy’, where workers are paid cash in hand and the treasury sees no extra revenue.

By doing away with Employer’s NI contributions and bringing in a simple flat rate of income tax for all, this impediment to growth can be removed and will more than likely lead to workers previously in the ‘black’ economy becoming net contributors once again. In France a few years back, the government lowered the rate of tax on those employed in the hospitality industry and the tax revenue actually grew as more workers became legitimate so there is a precedent for this approach.

Secondly, we have to make sure that the unemployed already here get a fair crack of the whip for new job opportunities. Unfortunately, EU movement of workers regulations mean that UK citizens are up against the whole workforce of  Europe when applying for jobs. Again, many of these migrant workers will live five or more to a house to split the bills,so can do the job for less. They spend little in the local economy and send most of their money back to their families in their home countries, stifling the incremental growth that comes from local wage earners spending in local communities.

David Cameron boasted in his speech of a million new jobs being created since 2010 – What he failed to mention were who were the beneficiaries of these jobs. ONS (Office of National Statistics) figures from 2011 showed that in the year preceeding it, 334,000 foreign born workers had taken up jobs compared to 77,000 UK residents. That was a 0.3% rise in jobs for those already here compared to a 2.2% increase for foreign workers.

Worse still, if you look at much trumpeted infrastructure projects that the government was looking at to kick start employment the figures were even more bleak. The multi-billion pound Olympics project in East London (above) was supposed to have given the local economy a big boost. However, figures from The Olympic Delivery Agency showed that of 6277 workers on the Olympic site, just 828 were local – Just one in eight. Moreover, with this level of migrant workforce, the public money being put in to the project in many cases was being sent overseas. With The Coalition looking at big infrastructure projects such as HS2 to generate growth and employment, the example of the Olympic Village further undermines their economic case for such outlay.

In order to cut the jobless figures (Therefore cutting the amount needed from the treasury in unemployment payments) we must leave the EU and regain control of our own jobs market and employment laws.  Unfortunately, David Cameron has already stated that he feels we are ‘better off in’ so in effect is opposing his own stated aim

The victims are likely to be our youngsters who are having to compete against more people for fewer jobs as seen by recent ONS figures quoted in our local Uxbridge Gazette – Long term youth unemployment in the borough is up by TWO THOUSAND percent between July 2011 and July 2012, with long term unemployment as a whole in the borough rising by 147.4 per cent.

‘We need to unblock planning log jams for more homes, and get more young people on the housing ladder’

Well said,Prime Minister – But with a two thousand percent long term youth unemployment increase in my area in the last year, how are they going to afford these new homes?

It was difficult enought when I was growing up, but house prices have run way above inflation for many years – Even if you can find a property that you can afford, the banks have tightened up on lending to such a degree that you will be saving for a deposit for so long you will probably get your pension before you have enough to put down on your first home!

To put this in to perspective, when my sister got married in the early eighties she bought a three bedroomed semi-detached house in Hillingdon with my brother-in-law for just over £27,000.  I have looked through the property pages of our local paper this week and the cheapest three bedroom property is £240,000, funnily enough from an agent called Cameron’s! Even if you are looking to buy a one bedroom as a starter home, the least expensive is £140,000 whilst the cheapest studio I could find was £95,000 (Which is currently let out at £625 per month!)

There was a two bedroom apartment listed which I recognised as the High Point development in Hayes Town at £294,000 – This premier development has been thirty five percent allocated to social housing, whilst it was reported that the last section to become available was 50% bought by overseas investors.

We have a housing waiting list of over nine thousand people in Hillingdon according to Cllr Janet Duncan, with the latest ‘Core strategy’ programme not even covering this amount – That is before we get to the subject of mass immigration distorting the supply.

Cutting back on the housing and green belt regulations to try and boost construction will only prompt a land grab by developers who can afford to keep prices high on the back of excessive demand, and will do nothing to help our younger generation find homes. Until we regain control of our borders and stop mass immigration, this is not a problem that can be rectified – On current immigration rates, we would have to build a city the size of Birmingham every four years just to stand still.

‘We will lead the fight against poverty – No-one is a write-off’

A noble aim – But again, you can ‘talk the talk’ but can you ‘walk the walk’?

British Gas announced price rises of 6% last week – Many of our pensioners are in fuel poverty whilst our utilities services, some of them now in overseas hands, keep pushing through above inflation rises. Expect prices to rise still further as our coal fired power stations are closed to meet EU emissions targets and our elderly nuclear plants are closed down without replacement.

The choice for some of our OAP’s this winter will be between feeding themselves or heating their homes – How about tackling this level of poverty Mr Cameron?

You may also like to look at a report on Poverty in London by The City Parochial Foundation, as reported by the BBC – It states that 270,000 children in inner London and 380,000 children in outer London are now classed as being in ‘poverty’, along with half a million adults.

Still, I appreciate that tackling poverty in England is not as high profile as some of the causes that the Coalition are promoting overseas. I take it that whilst poverty in England is on the increase you will still increase the foreign aid budget to help those ‘less fortunate than ourselves’ as previously stated?

Indeed, I noted from today’s papers that aid is continuing to flow to Rwanda as authorised by Andrew Mitchell MP in his last job as overseas development minister (Before becoming chief whip and chief scourge of PC Pleb) , despite the regime’s appalling human rights record? Then there is the aid to India, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, who have their own nuclear weapons and space programme and who refer to the aid given as ‘peanuts’.  This is the same country who now have aircraft carriers as part of their defence forces whilst we do not due to the latest round of cuts and the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal. 

Then there is the continuing foreign aid to despots like Robert Mugabe who insult us at every turn, the £650,000 given to Pakistan for ‘education’ whilst they triple their military budget, and the cash given every year to Uganda whose President Museveni has recently replaced his own private jet.

Still, we can content ourselves that under a Cameron government, ‘no-one is a write-off’. Well, no actually.

The picture above is of Remploy workers outside the Conservative conference where Cameron made his speech (With thanks to UK Indymedia for the photo)

Remploy were formed after World War 2 to provide supporting employment for disabled soldiers returning from action. They have gone on to provide employment and a purpose for many disabled members of our community.

The Coalition have decided to close down a number of the factories and ‘encourage’ the workers to find employment in the open workplace, despite the global downturn and in spite of the workers from the last round of closures under the previous Labour government struggling to find alternative employment (85% have not worked since redundancy) The Remploy factories can be profitable with modest investment and decent management(Indeed, some already are) but the government are having none of it. How does that square with your declaration that ‘Nobody is a write off’ Mr Cameron?

Then we have the ATOS debacle. Employed to sort out the culture of bogus disability benefits claims by Iain Duncan-Smith’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), this French private firm are not paid by how many frauds they uncover but by how much money they save the government and are on a bonus scheme to do so.

Not surprisingly, ATOS are going after what they consider to be ‘soft’ targets to make the figures look good – The reality is that in 2011, one hundred and fifty thousand people judged fit to work by ATOS won their cases on appeal.

Probably the worst case that has been seen so far is that of the late Karen Sherlock. Mrs Sherlock was passed as fit to work by ATOS in 2010 despite failing eyesight, severe diabetes and the need for a kidney transplant. The DWP stopped her £96 per week benefits in April after an ATOS assessment, which was subsequently overturned on appeal – She passed away on June 8th after two years of of fighting a system that had failed her.

Locally in Hillingdon, we are seeing proposals regarding three day care centres for the disabled to be closed and replaced by just one as part of the austerity cuts – Again, this has now gone to review after it was challenged but such actions as these show Mr Cameron’s speech for what it is, hype over substance.

‘We’re in a global race today/ Exports are up 25% to Brazil, 40% to China and 80% to Russia’

Absolutely great news, Prime Minister. It shows that British industry is not dead and buried as some would have you believe.

Now look at those figures – Export figures are UP to three of the five big emerging economies (With India and Singapore, they are referred to as the BRICS countries)

Yet we are hamstrung in our dealings with these economies because trade deals are not negotiated by the UK, but by the EU. It begs the question – If we can improve trade with the excess of red tape and bureaucracy imposed on us by The European Union, what could we do with a REAL free trade agreement negotiated by our own government?

Unfortunately, Mr Cameron does not want us to find out. He has already reneged on one ‘cast iron guarantee’ on a referendum on our continued membership of the EU which was a part of the Conservative 2010 general election manifesto, and has since employed a ‘three line whip’ to make sure that his MP’s would not ask for a referendum during a debate forced on the House by one hundred thousand signatures from the people of our country.

When asked why he imposed the whip by then Conservative MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Roger Helmer, he replied ‘Because we are better off in’ – Mr Helmer subsequently resigned from the Conservative party and joined UKIP.

So, why are we ‘better off in’ Mr Cameron? You talk of free trade, yet the areas of world growth are outside of the EU as shown by our increase in trade with the countries aforementioned. According to IMF forecasts, in 2016 the Eurozone will account for just 12.4% of world output, down from 21.8% in 1991 and 14.3% in 2011.

By contrast, the ‘Anglosphere’ of our Commonwealth partners will account for over 35% of world trade in 2016 – So where is the growth in our economy to come from? To borrow a comment from the German Field Marshall Hindenburg, when describing Germany’s alliance with the feeble Austrian Empire in the first world war : “We are shackled to a corpse”

Our exports to Europe now account for less than 50% of all of our trade, even taking in to account the distortion of ‘The Rotterdam effect’ (Many of our exports to countries outside the EU pass through EU ports so are counted as exports to the EU, the so-called ‘Rotterdam effect’)

However, I appreciate that this is still a decent amount of trade and we don’t need to lose it in these straightened times. So, how about this for an idea – We leave the EU but sort out a trade deal along the same lines as Norway? Norway is in a far better economic position than other European countries and has an agreement where they can have free trade with those countries by paying a levy of £300 million per year – Less than ONE WEEK’S contribution to the EU that we currently pay, and the Norwegians are not hamstrung by the rules and regulations that leading economists such as Professor Tim Congdon have estimated cost us upwards of £100 billion per year (Or 10% of GDP)

This will give us an advantage in the ‘Global Race’ that you talk of whilst maintaining the trade links with Europe that you seem so keen to preserve. It’s a ‘win-win’ situation Mr Cameron – But if you don’t wish to take the decision, how about an ‘in-out’ referendum where the people of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can make it for you? After all, we are a democratic nation are we not?

Style over substance

The Prime Minister’s speech rated a 7/10 with many political commentators. For me, a speech is only as good as the actions that back it up – I will leave you to make up your own mind as to what I would score it at based on my previous commentary.

For the ‘Aspirations’ that Mr Cameron speaks of to come true, we would need to enact the following –

1 – An end to mass immigration with an Australian style points system imposed so that all economic migrants coming to the UK benefit the overall community whilst improving their own situation.

2 – Withdrawal from the EU to maintain our competitive edge in the world marketplace whilst freeing our businesses from unnecessary red tape and saving the taxpayer over £100 billion per year

3 – There are over 900,000 empty properties in the UK whilst the housing shortage continues – We need to get these back in to the housing pool whilst building affordable houses for first time buyers and working families on brown field sites.

4 – Foreign aid needs to be cut and the resources allocated to our own poor, sick and deserving

5 – Our armed forces need to be properly funded and equipped. The  money can be found from the saving of £53 million per day in direct funding when we leave the EU

This would be a start, but I don’t think that the current occupant of No 10 lives in the real world and can see the answers – Remember this when the general election comes round and,once again, the actions have failed to meet the rhetoric.

Cliff Dixon is UKIP Hillingdon chairman 

UKIP the only Defender of Social Tenants

The following is a guest post from UKIP London Chairman David Coburn

Frank Field, Labour MP and Cameron’s housing advisor, has said that nearly half of new social housing tenants in some parts of the Capital were born abroad.

Migration Watch, the respected campaign group, showed that foreign nationals account for 45% of new social housing tenancies in Ealing and 43% in Haringey last year.

Frank Field has challenged Grant Shapps the Housing Minister on ONS figures showing that 20% of all social housing in London is taken by foreign nationals, nearly double the government’s figures for new lets.

This situation cannot continue

UKIP believes Londoners should receive housing priority not foreign nationals who have not contributed to the public purse to the same extent, if at all.

Conservative, Labour and Lib-Dem open door EU immigration policies have created severe housing problems by pushing up prices and rents for ordinary Londoners.

Londoners are sick of Labour’s unfair, crackpot, unworkable, politically correct, allegedly egalitarian housing priorities, when what they want are affordable homes and fair lists.

The Conservatives care little for the working man and woman in social housing. They are much more interested in pleasing their property developer supporters by reducing the number of social houses developers are obliged to provide in order to obtain planning permission. A Conservative think tank close to Cameron has recently been discussing policies which almost amount to social cleansing and incidentally give the Conservatives more secure seats.

UKIP will give social housing a priority to Londoners not foreign nationals. Problem families who disrupt their neighbours should lose their tenancies.

UKIP will encourage social tenants who can afford to buy their homes to do so on the condition that ALL monies received should be used to build affordable social housing and not for any other purpose.

This will encourage social housing tenants to enter the property market and will free up funds to build even more social housing on brown field sites. This will create a virtuous circle and provide much needed jobs and boost the economy.

UKIP want practical and fair housing policies for the hard working social tenant. We want more social housing and we want to encourage social tenants to own their own homes providing more money for social housing expansion.

UKIP is the only defender of the social tenant.

This article can be found in the latest edition of UKIP London News – Please get in touch if you would like a copy.

Overcrowded Britain

Yesterday (Saturday 15th September) saw another of our scheduled UKIP street stalls in Uxbridge.

Hillingdon Secretary Martin Shelvey sets up the stall outside The Pavilions Shopping Centre

Amongst the items we distributed was a DVD of a two year old film, ‘Over-Crowded Britain’, which lays bare the truth about mass immigration in to the UK.

Despite it’s age, this DVD is probably even more relevant today than it was when it was produced. We have just seen a petition on the subject reach 100,000 signatures, automatically triggering a debate in The House of Commons – This debate, however, was attended by a pitiful 30 MP’s, showing how high a priority they give to a subject that regularly features in the top three concerns of voters during our canvassing sessions.

 

Mass immigration at a local level

We have also seen an upturn in the local housing waiting list from 3000 to 9000 in just a year, as quoted by Councillor Janet Duncan during a debate on the ‘Core Strategy’ policy that Hillingdon will adopt as their blueprint on meeting need over the next 10 years. I was involved in that debate, and commented that there is no way the council can plan a strategy when they don’t know how many will be arriving via the ‘open door’ immigration system that we currently employ – My concerns were ignored by the civil servant who was giving the Council case, who kept chanting the mantra that he was going by figures provided by the GLA (Greater London Authority) and therefore his section of the work was ‘sound’.

This level of immigration is putting huge strain on housing,which in turn impacts on schools, transport and the NHS.

Our council have earmarked green belt land at Lake Farm to build a new school, whilst the planned closure of A&E at Ealing Hospital will pile more stress on the already overworked Hillingdon Hospital which will have to deal with more people locally and more coming from surrounding areas at the same time. Access to both sites via road at peak times is already difficult – This extra traffic,in my opinion, could put lives at risk and will also make for an even harder school run in the bottlenecks around Merryman’s corner.

Above – Migrants outside The Harlington Hospice shop in July this year 

Meanwhile, existing local residents are struggling to get their children in to the schools of their choice and are way down the pecking order when it comes to allocation of affordable housing. The massive High Point development in Hayes Town has already seen it’s ‘affordable housing’ element filled by Thames Valley Housing Association, whilst The Gazette reported back in March that almost half of the development buyers were from overseas.

The Old EMI site in Hayes is earmarked for 510 flats in five new blocks rising to 10 stories, whilst yet another block has been approved this week for a further 120 flats in Blyth Road spanning 11 stories. There are also developments at the old NATS site in West Drayton and at RAF Uxbridge. It will be interesting to see if the buyer and affordable housing spreads are in line with what we have seen at High Point – It will also be worrying to see how the council will put in place the extra facilities needed to cope with this huge surge in demand, especially in view of the changes to funding coming in to effect next year from Central Government.

 

The message of Over-Crowded Britain is clear – If we continue down this road then we are looking at a population of over 70 million in the near future, a figure that we cannot afford to support from both an environmental and financial point of view.

The first stage to taking back control of our borders is withdrawal from the EU – Lobby your MP, write to the press, participate in talk radio shows and let them know in Westminster that mass immigration is an issue that won’t just go away!