Immigration: protest by mail, not foot

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SOUTH Holland people would do better to write to their MP than join a protest march against immigration, says district council leader Gary Porter.

He said that next month’s planned march through Boston – which has now been cancelled – wouldn’t have achieved anything and would have wasted stretched police resources.

He added that the concerns which prompted Dean Everitt, from Wyberton, to organise the march are legitimate, and urges everyone in South Holland who shares them to use “mailbag pressure” rather than taking to the streets.

Mr Everitt called off the November 19 march after hearing from Boston borough councillors that for months they have been in talks with the Home Office over the social impact of local immigration, and a Home Office team is coming to the town next month to make a case study.

Gary Porter said: “Something needs to be done on the way local government finances are organised to recognise the pressure put on services by inward migration.

“Whether people come to the district from Latvia or Luton, they don’t bring anything with them to cover the extra demand they’ll make on local services in a rural area like ours.

“South Holland District Council has been complaining to the Treasury about this continually since 2003.

“It’s a live issue and one we recognise, and in the last community cohesion budget before the general election we received £78,000 towards addressing the problem.

“Most people coming from other countries want to fit in with the local community, they don’t want to stand out. They need help to conform to our rules and customs like recycling, for example.

“But a street march, no matter how well-intentioned, would end up getting hijacked by others and only make the problem worse.”

Phil Drury, strategic director and deputy chief executive of Boston Borough Council, said: “We were invited by the Home Office to talk to them about the social impact of immigration. As a result Boston is one of several areas to be used by the Home Office as a case study.

“We had told the Home Office that, as a small authority with a small population, large incoming growth over a short period had put a strain on services and was having a cultural impact on the town.

“The Home Office wants to find out what effect mass immigration has on communities in order to advise future policy.”