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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  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    Let's get the hell out of the EU , it works for Switzerland.We cannot pretend we cannot trade once we leave.We'll save billions in propping up a failed European dream and get our sovereignty , land and space back.Two World Wars for what?

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    Pickles is a jumped up parish councillor and public nuisance. Make him join UKIP or send him off to Australia, if Australia will have him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    But surely, Middle England, this is a chance for you to reinstate your power. You would have servants, at your beck and call, for next to no wages. You could have peasants aplenty on your land. You could reinstate your mills and 'thirl' all your peasant farmers to it. You could reintroduce the penalties for witchcraft to control this population. Yes, a GREAT Britain again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.


    "...The Eastern governments are full of sharks and lechers..."

    I think that you mean "leeches". You could be right though.

  • Comment number 394.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.

    moderated very busy..... No freedom left in the UK!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    Eric Pickles should be in a museum. His performance on the Sunday Politics show was dreadful,.

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    Xenophobic and racist accusations! That's all these liberals do. Use slogans. Disagree with them & you're labelled racist & homophobic . The fact is, we need to restrict immigration. Smug Nanabaum has a successful business. The aged, unemployed & disabled are having cuts. Immigration hurts the vulnerable not the prosperous. Nanabaum isn't on the recieiving end or he wouldn't be so uppity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    251 - Nanbaum " Having lived in scotland for 11 years (having grown up in northern ireland) and meeting my partner (who is polish) i cannot understand this paranoia. We both own and run a successful business in the central belt and employ 8 british scots. We pay our taxes, vat and our business rates. A 23 yr old polish girl has employed british people.

    There's always the odd exception

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    Mr Pickles is criticised for speaking out by the very leftwhich deliberately encouraged mass immigration,which has been a disaster.
    Labour was responsible for encouraging this and introduced the label of racist to those who disagreed.
    UK should introduce what Aus/NZ has had for years,strictly managed immigration to protect British ethnic identity.But too many lefty idealogues wish to destroy GB

  • Comment number 388.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    Some people out there live in absolute cuckoo land. As soon as the doors open, the UK will be absolutely swamped. It's the land of milk and honey. It happened with the Polish migrants, and it will be worse with the Rumanians and Bulgarians. What's racist about common sense and not wanting to collapse our system with millions of immigrants (who will come en-masse) Wake up you do-gooder idiots.

  • Comment number 386.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    #300 Absolute rubbish. The housing crisis has been caused by successive UK goverments over the last 30-40 years failing to build adequate numbers of social housing, plus the lunatic obsession(in England at least) of Thatcher of everyone owning their own home.Property related price inflation was a major contributory factor in our current mess.

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.

    We need a new political party, preferably one without politicians.

    We need people with common sense, real insight, less vested interest and true commitment to change, people who might just be able to save this country before it is too late.

    Anyone prepared to step forward?

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    get out of the EU before this island sinks under the weight of benefit scrounging Eastern Europeans.
    we have enough home grown scroungers without importing any more,
    the last governments failure to listen to it's people has cost us all dearly and we need change we need to close the borders and repatriate those that don't work..issues permits to work and once they expire send them home

  • rate this

    Comment number 382.


    What a PC starts on £71 p/w I dont belive that. Or do you mean the £100k club who have been proved not to exsist by the DWPs own records?

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    288. Arma1
    Surely the point of the EU was that it's supposed to be a union of roughly equal neighbours in terms of economic power? ..
    Allowing in countries with weak economies...
    It's still true, but it takes time for economies and prices and wages to equalise. Southern Europe is no longer cheap, but it took 20 years. The same will happen in Eastern Europe. Most migration will be temporary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    Mr Pickles, you are a politician, do something about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 379.

    Perhaps we should send our unemployed, elderly and those needing care over there. Let them pay for


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