On Friday Vicky Ford Conservative MEP for the East of England and Stephen Barclay MP were joined by local Conservative Councillors at a street surgery in Wisbech Market Place.
The group listened to concerns on local issues and the views of residents on last week’s announcements on changes to immigration policy, particularly regarding welfare and healthcare benefits for EU and non EU immigrants.
The five point plan includes a “Local homes for Local People” policy which will limit social housing to those who have lived locally for a defined period. Restrictions to welfare benefits will be introduced so that job seekers allowance will only be for those who are actively seeking work and will be stopped after six months if the person has not got a good chance of finding a job. The proposals will also limit access to public services such as the NHS and costs of medical treatment for EU migrants must be paid for by their own government. There will also be harsher penalties for companies employing illegal workers.
Vicky Ford MEP said “Under Labour, the UK saw uncontrolled immigration and towns like Wisbech experienced many changes in a very short period of time. This is a town where many people work extremely hard in factories or as farmworkers. Migration for work has brought many benefits for our economy but migration for welfare and migration for healthcare are unaffordable which is unfair for those who have paid into our tax system.
“Every single person I spoke to during the street surgery agreed that these new changes address real concerns. Many also spoke about the pressures they have seen on local services.
“Under the current government net migration has been reduced by a third, we have limits on economic migrants and tougher tests including English language tests. The people of Wisbech have firsthand experience, it is very helpful to have their thoughts and support. I hope that these new changes will make a real difference. It is important that they are introduced this year.
“Thank you to Stephen Barclay MP and the local councillors who took time to help with this street surgery, and to those who gave us their views.
“Over 700 leaflets were handed out in a one hour period, with many of those people having been asked for their views. Whilst it was clear that the majority want to see an end to mass immigration, the response to David Cameron’s proposals were met positively.”