IMMIGRATION: Labour: ‘We got it wrong on immigration...and will use Boston report in our manifesto’

Boston Mayor Paul Kenny, Chris Bryant and Mike Gilbert
Boston Mayor Paul Kenny, Chris Bryant and Mike Gilbert

Labour’s ‘open-door’ immigration policy went ‘badly wrong’ and put pressure on places such as Boston, according to a leading party figure.

Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant admitted that the party had made errors in government during a visit to the town last week – and vowed to use a report on Boston to form the party’s policy at the next General Election.

Boston Borough Council drew up a 28-point plan to deal with the impact of immigration following a task and finish group inquiry last year which saw people from health, education, police and media quizzed for their views.

The impressed shadow minister declared on Wednesday: “I want to make sure this ends up in the Labour manifesto.”

He said he had no disagreement with any of the report’s recommendations and praised the council.

He said that Labour’s open-doors immigration policy when it had been in Government had been ‘badly wrong’ and had placed pressures on councils, such as Boston, straining services it had to administer.

Mr Bryant came to Boston at the invitation of Coun Mike Gilbert, the council’s community development portfolio holder.

Mr Bryant heard from task and finish group members of the challenges in Boston caused by population growth and issues of concern around migrant workers such as wages being forced down and rents being hiked up, exploitation by unscrupulous employers, zero-hour contracts, sub-standard living conditions, street drinking and anti-social behaviour, some of which impacted on the general population.

Rob Lauberts, chairman of Boston Community Form, told him that Boston’s infrastructure was ‘creaking’ because of the dramatic population increase in the past decade.