Cambridgeshire

Peterborough migrant increase 'affecting services', MP says

An increase in Peterborough's migrant population is having a "massive impact" on services in the city, an MP said.

In 2008-2009, 900 international migrants came to the city, rising to 2,000 the following year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The city's Conservative MP, Stewart Jackson, said he believed the actual figure was greater.

He said the "significant increases" were impacting on public services including schools and policing.

Mr Jackson expressed concern that the statistics were "slightly historic".

They show that the number of international migrants had fallen annually between 2006 and 2009 and then risen sharply in 2010.

'Massive impact'

"I'd like to see the figures for 2011, because in April of that year the freedom of movement directive applied across the whole of the EU - all 27 countries," he said.

"But with Europe tipping into recession, and the UK's employment market being stronger, we're going to attract even more people, particularly from Eastern Europe."

Mr Jackson said 34% of primary schoolchildren in Peterborough did not speak English as a first language.

As a result, he said there was a "massive impact on resource implications" for the Local Education Authority.

"The [migrant population] works hard and earns a living... but the provision of public services including schools, primary care, housing, crime and policing falls on Peterborough," he said.

"I've been banging on about this with governments of both sides for seven years and the situation isn't being taken as seriously as it should be."

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