Immigration Debated By Peterborough Candidates

Immigration debated by Peterborough candidates

The BBC News (U.K.), April 12, 2010

Peterborough has seen large numbers of immigrants arrive in the city in recent years, particularly since the European Union expanded in 2004.

Many have come to the region to work, finding jobs in sectors such as food processing and packaging.

But there have been concerns that the growing population of the city has put a strain on public services.

The BBC spoke to the candidates to get their views on immigration and the impact it has had on Peterborough.

Conservative candidate Stewart Jackson, elected MP for Peterborough in 2005, said immigration is a key concern for local people.

'We've imported people to do low skilled jobs while allowing people to languish on benefits,' he said.

Mr Jackson said he sees showing that immigration can be addressed in a 'responsible way, without rabble rousing' as a key part of his job.

'Need for skills'

Labour candidate Ed Murphy said that immigration has been 'very, very beneficial' to Peterborough.

'Lots of new industries have been expanded and manufacturing and service industries have done quite well,' he said.

But Mr Murphy said that some unqualified workers in Peterborough had found it more difficult to find work and said there was a need to 'skill people up' and bring industries such as engineering back to Peterborough.

Nick Sandford, the Liberal Democrat candidate, accepted that immigration was an issue that some people had concerns about.

He said new jobs had been created in the area in recent years but they had largely been in retail and warehouse operations with many of the vacancies filled by Polish migrants.

'If we're going to regenerate the Peterborough economy, we have to bring in more highly skilled jobs We really need to focus on green industries [and the] development of renewable [energy],' he said.

The general election will be held on 6 May.

The candidates announced so far for Peterborough include: Conservative: Stewart Jackson; Labour: Ed Murphy; Lib Dem: Nick Sandford; English Democrats: Rob King; UK Independence Party: Frances Fox; Green: Fiona Radic; BNP: Dave Strickson.


Immigration: the 'silent' election issue
By Tom Baldwin
The Times (London), April 12, 2010