TOUGH action on benefits, licensing of overcrowded migrant homes and a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to anti-social behaviour are all needed in Boston, according to MP Mark Simmonds.
Mr Simmonds also called for a more visible police presence to ease fears for people walking through Boston at night as issues relating to the social impact of immigration were addressed.
The Conservative MP said the issue of English people missing out on jobs is due to a mixture of a lack of education, skills, ambition and problems with people chosing to live off benefits.
Mr Simmonds said: “In terms of reforming benefits to ensure work always pays that has very significant support by the vast bulk of the population.”
The MP supports steps to licence Houses of Multiple Occupancy and said it would be a ‘very positive step’ and allow ‘rogue landlords’ to be targeted.
He told councillors: “I fear unless something is done it’s only a matter of time before there is a serious disaster.”
He said the Government’s move towards a minimum price for alcohol would help with street drinking issues, but said a ban would not be practical.
Mr Simmonds said: “You probably need to have a zero tolerance policy on people behaving anti-socially across the board, whether in town or elsewhere.
“There’s no doubt it’s a significant issue. It’s not just an issue for the migrant community but it’s an issue across the board. There’s no evidence that migrants commit more crime than UK citizens, in fact quite the reverse.”
The MP said he thought the Gangmasters Licensing Authority has had a ‘significant impact’ on addressing issues with agricultural and horticultural work but revealed it has had a 30 per cent funding cut since the coalition Government came into power in May 2010 and now has to focus on ‘rogue operators’.