Eric Pickles: New EU 'influx' may add to housing problems

 

Eric Pickles: "I have seen figures. I wasn't confident of those figures"

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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has warned that an "influx" of Romanians and Bulgarians would add to the existing housing problems in the UK.

But he refused to give an estimate of the numbers of people who might move to Britain after getting the right to live and work in the UK in December.

"I don't think anybody knows," he told the BBC, adding that more work had to be done on drawing up a robust figure.

He said he did not want to start a "scare story" on the issue.

Temporary curbs were imposed on Romanians and Bulgarians in 2005 to protect the British labour market, but those curbs expire in December and under EU laws cannot be extended.

Mr Pickles was asked about the impact of a fresh wave of EU migrants by Andrew Neil on the BBC's Sunday Politics after a discussion about the low rate of housing growth.

Asked how many Romanians and Bulgarians he expected to move to the UK, he said: "The truth is I don't think anybody entirely knows the number that will come from Bulgaria and Romania."

He said he had had "no discussions with the Home Office with regards to the numbers".

But he said individual councils were taking action to prepare for a possible large increase in the numbers of people moving to the UK from the two countries next year.

"We do know of a number of boroughs that have a higher than average number of Romanians so I would expect to see influxes in the east of London, which is predominantly where they are now," he said.

Social housing problems

The last Labour government vastly underestimated the numbers of people from the first wave of eastern EU member states who would move to the UK, nearly a decade ago.

And Mr Pickles said he would not quote any figure until he was sure about it: "I have seen figures. I wasn't confident of those figures. I have asked for a further explanation and when I've got that explanation and when I feel confident about the figures I'll talk about them."

But, he added: "Given that we've got a housing shortage, any influx from Romania and Bulgaria is going to cause problems - it's going to cause problems, not just in terms of the housing market but also on social housing markets."

The Home Office has not produced an official estimate of how many of the 29 million Romanian and Bulgarian citizens will take advantage of their new freedoms when controls are lifted.

But some experts predict a large number of immigrants from Eastern Europe, which Labour has warned could put pressure on British jobs and wages.

The government's migration advisory committee says there is evidence that Bulgarians would move to Britain because of its stronger economy, and it was "plausible" Romanians would come for the same reason.

Home Secretary Theresa May said in November that temporary curbs could not continue under EU law and the government was looking instead at limiting access to benefits and the NHS to reduce the "pull factors" that encouraged migrants to come to the UK.

 

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  • Comment number 1258.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 1257.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 1256.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1255.

    All new immigrants should have their passports stamped 'no access to public funds'. We cannot continue to concrete over our beautiful (small) island to accomodate yet more immigrants. Many English youngsters can no longer afford houses in their own county without the 'bank of mum and dad'. Enough is enough!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 1254.

    The left wingers accusing people of "xenophobia, racism, being anti-European, bigotted" etc really need to take a reality check. Wake up and smell the coffee. How much more immigration, illegal and legit, can this country really take? We are full to bursting. I'm truly not comfortable with our capital city's white British population now falling into the minority, are you?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1253.

    re comment 290. Please note: you say 1.6 million ELSEWHERE in the EU. The EU - NOT concentrated in one country like the UK. AND have any of this number been handed keys to social housing thereby depriving the indigenous population of the host country of housing. How many are in receipt of housing benefit, council tax benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Jobseekers Allowance etc?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1252.

    NO and NO again,Enough is Enough, our health system is creaking, the schools are overflowing, our transport system is overwhelmed and our benefits system is stretched to the limit. No to any more influx of Europeans disenchanted by the EU collapse.This is not a refugee state and we are already overwhelmed with a populace too large to be supported by our economy or infrastructure - dumb politicians

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1251.

    No doubt the haters won't agree with my last comment, but its reality time, Conservative and Labour won't stop this country from becoming a third world toilet, at least the BNP will in a sense.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1250.

    Wheres Nick Griffin when we need him, oh that's right we slagged him off and he's gone, Dam...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1249.

    The numbers from Poland are 2% of the Polish population moved here. So expect around 600,000 Romanians at least.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1248.

    The BBC doesn't let me tell you why Romanians were deported from Italy and France. It's not difficult to guess though and it's got nothing to do with xenophobia. We ARE going to have the same problems if we don't ditch such European laws! When that happens, will all of you leftists blame racism and xenophobia still??

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1247.

    There is only one reason the government is doing nothing about immigration and that is because their backers want a low wage high profit economy, and immigrants will work for lower wages,so giving higher prfit margins.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1246.

    re Alan 1238 - 'Why is the UK Government in favour of Turkey joining the EU when the same thing will happen.Can someone explain?"

    Because businesses want the UK run as much as possible as a free-for-all 'wild west type place' where anything goes, all restrictions are removed, and the ordinary indiginous population have no protection or rights in their own country-or market as businesses see it.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1245.

    An unending supply of cheap labour manipulates the laws of supply and demand against the poorest indiginous people in our country.
    Their wages and lifestyle will never improve while they have to compete with cheap immigrant labour.
    Why not allow cheaper immigrant politicians to replace all our MPs then ?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1244.

    So why doesn't Mr Pickles demand an "Opt Out" for the UK on the unfettered movement of EU people throughout the EU.
    Why doesn't Mr Pickles not demand the UK leave the EU if we are not given such an Opt-Out.
    Probably because Cameron is all for letting them all in because businesses like an unending supply of cheap labour, and he doesn't give a damn for indiginous people at the bottom of society

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1243.

    Capitalists love open borders and free movement of labour. Don't blame the migrants, blame the Politicians of all paties. None of them will ever move against their own paymasters.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1242.

    Mr Pickles. Ha, ha,ha. Does anybody take what this man says seriously. Listening to his couched statements makes my flesh creep. The underlying message is clear. All divide and rule. Who voted for this man?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1241.

    Cameron/Osborne/May et al have instituted the oldest trick in the book with their divide & rule tactics-designed to achieve success at the polls. Only now we find ourselves in hock to the bigots, xenophobes, & ne'er-do-wells who feed on the frenzy of hate that is the result of marginalising the sick & disabled through benefits cuts & distrust of immigrants through comments by the likes of Pickles.

  • Comment number 1240.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1239.

    Please close the borders as much as we can until we can get some control and housing built. Once we have got housing sorted for British people and legal immigrants that are already here then we can start considering letting more people into the country that are going to benefit us.

 

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