A councillor says UKIP has been proved right to warn about the pressures of potential new European Union migrants.
Kettering Borough Council leader Russell Roberts wrote to UKIP’s Jonathan Bullock, who had asked about what plans the council was putting in place to cope with the possible arrival of new migrants from Romania and Bulgaria. Restrictions on migrants from those countries, which joined the EU in 2007, will be lifted on January 1, 2014.
In the letter, Cllr Roberts said it had been nearly impossible to plan sensibly for what he described as an unknown set of pressures, but that considerations of the possible impact on accommodation availability, the emergency services and translation services had been made.
He said: “You will be aware that many of the pressures such migrants might put on council services are either demand level – for example, for housing, or some welfare services – or very hard to separate out from the general population, such as refuse collection.
“Added to this is the lack of knowledge about the sorts of numbers that might take up the opportunity to come to the UK, with differing projections currently being made.”
He added: “I hope this (letter) goes some way to assuring you that the council remains alert to the potential issues that inward migration causes, without spending a great deal of precious time and effort trying to model and anticipate the unknown.”
Cllr Jonathan Bullock, who serves on Kettering council, said the letter showed his party had been right to urge councils to prepare for a possible wave of new migrants, and said Kettering was the first council in Britain to admit work had to be done.
“At last the Council has come clean about the potential pressures of EU immigration on accommodation, police and translation services,” Cllr Bullock said.
“UKIP have been proved right all along to raise this issue and councils are now waking up to the difficult choices they have to make.”