FEARS of a surge in immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania settling in Redditch have failed to materialise.
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show in the first six months of this financial year just 37 Romanian nationals and eight Bulgarians arrived in the borough.
Although the number of Romanians registering to work in the town is more than double that in the previous 12 months, it is way below the wave of immigration the borough experienced post-2004 and which UKIP predicted would follow as a result of restrictions on the movement of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals ending on New Year’s Day.
However the figures show since 2010 Redditch, like the rest of Britain, has continued to experience a steady flow of immigrants arriving in the town. Between April 2010 and September this year, 2,481 foreign nationals have settled in the borough with almost 90 per cent of them from within the European Union, although the statistics do not show how many may have since left.
Polish residents remain the most attracted to Redditch with the Eastern European country accounting for 60 per cent of the total immigration into the town over the last five years, followed by Hungary and then Pakistan.
The Government recently admitted its attempt to cut immigration to the tens of thousands had failed because of a surge in immigration from within the EU, prompting Prime Minister David Cameron to announce a series of measures including stopping new immigrants from claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for the first three months and stopping them from claiming housing benefit.
But UKIP leader Nigel Farage told the Standard the reality was the main political parties were ‘impotent’ to do anything about immigration unless they committed to leaving the EU.
“Mr Cameron can stand up and make as many grand speeches as he likes and Ed [Miliband] can go and hide behind the dustbins but it all makes no difference because they cannot authoritatively take back control.” he said.
“They accuse me of simplification, but you know what it’s very simple, either we have what we have got now or an Australian style points system.”
Redditch MP Karen Lumley said what was important was ensuring people came to Britain to contribute to the country and not immigration figures.
She said she was confident the Prime Minister would be able to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU, including immigration control, but if he could not she would be campaigning to leave when a referendum was held in 2017.
“It is all well and good for Nigel Farage to shout from the sidelines about what he would and wouldn’t do but there is only one party that can and will give the British people a say on the future of our relationship with Europe.”