The issue of immigration has often thrust Boston into the spotlight. Here – and in a series of articles online today – Gemma Gadd explores views on its impact and one study that looks at the negative feeling in the area...
People in Boston and Skegness have the most negative view on the impact immigration has had in the whole country according to a new report.
The academic study, entitled Constituency Opinion and Representation in Britain, by Nick Vivyan and Chris Hanretty, collated data from across the UK’s 632 constituencies.
The Boston and Skegness constituency came bottom in the country for those responding to the question ‘do you think that immigration enriches Britain’s cultural life?’
South Holland and the Deepings came third from the bottom, while Louth and Horncastle was 10th.
Boston/Skegness was also found to be the sixth most eurosceptic in the UK – with a high number supporting an exit from the EU. The report’s authors had asked how they would vote if there was a referendum on the EU.
Clacton in Essex was found to be the most eurosceptic.
An excerpt from the report reads: “We see that constituencies on the east coast of England seem to be particularly adverse to immigration.
“These are places characterised by an older and predominantly white populations with relatively low average levels of education.”
Vivyan and Hanretty used the 2015 British Election Study (BES) survey data to ‘estimate constituency opinion concerning immigration’.
Nationally, about 21,000 people took part in 2015.
However, the authors admit this means an average of just 47 people responded per constituency, so they supplemented their findings with other sources of information about the demographics and geographry of the area.
The anti-EU sentiment has fed into election success for UKIP here - with the party securing five of Boston’s seven county seats in 2013.
The party then followed that up by securing its best performance in the country in Boston at this year’s European elections - polling 52 per cent in the borough.
A further academic report issued last week appears to show migrants from the EU have made a positive impact to the economy.
University College London found that EU migrants from new member states such as Poland contributed more than £20bn between 2001 and 2011.
When asked, the report’s author was unable to put a specific figure to the financial impact on Boston.
The 2011 Census showed Boston’s population jumped 15.2 per cent - with almost 10,000 foreign-born residents compared to fewer than 1,500 in 2001. Politicians in the town continue to argue that this figure is too low by several thousand.