The Prime Minister’s recent speech on migration has left local critics without any constructive arguments to oppose him; and that is because, as pointed out by Radio Five Live, he was thinking about Boston when he made it.
Boston and Skegness Conservatives have been mounting a strong campaign to raise the issue of in-work benefits as a major factor in Boston’s migration for the last two years. Those who received our summer newsletter will be aware of the mechanics of this link. Mark Simmonds, our MP, was heavily involved in the preparation and planning of the policy and in particular the arrangements for granting additional financial support to towns such as Boston.
Whilst free movement within the EU is a factor in Boston’s immigration, in that it allows migrants to come freely to the UK, it is the benefits system that accelerates the numbers; not only the number of workers but their families and dependants. Thus the volume of migrants attracted by the in-work benefits system is over and above the numbers required by the local economy and this places pressure on services and housing, which in the case of housing drives up the cost to unaffordable levels for many local people.
The EU needs huge amounts of reform and we had to get control of the migration issue. My hope is that the EU will recognise the sense in the Prime Minister’s position and UKIP will recognise that we get the necessary control, without risking our borders appearing ‘closed for business’. Nigel Farage and co are paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in salary by Europe’s tax payers and that is perhaps why he is oblivious to the needs of British and Boston business. With the Conservatives you get sensible policies which Back Boston and Back Britain and in 2017 you will have a referendum and a chance to participate in a new mandate with the European Union, including the option to leave.
Coun Mike Gilbert
Chairman of the Boston Branch of the Conservative Party