Daily Mail - Rural immigration trebles in three years

Gerrard Winstanley office at evnuk.org.uk
Wed Jul 18 10:40:15 BST 2007

Big Brother cameras to track millions of innocent drivers

Number of immigrants in rural England trebles in three years
By MATTHEW HICKLEY - More by this author ยป
Last updated at 08:23am on 17th July 2007

The number of immigrants in rural England has more than trebled in 
the past three years, a Government report reveals today. 


The "sheer scale and speed of immigration" is putting a big strain on 
rural local authorities as they struggle to provide services and 
maintain community relations, warns the Commission for Rural 
Communities study. 

It also highlights an exodus of young Britons from the countryside, 
leaving behind an ageing population. 

It warns the growing "age divide" between urban and rural areas 
raises serious questions over the future of schools and healthcare in 
the countryside. 

>From 2003 to 2006, rural areas across England saw a 209 per cent rise 
in migrant workers, as measured by National Insurance registrations, 
up from 21,000 to 65,000. 

The real figure is likely to be far higher, as some workers - 
particularly illegal immigrants - do not register, and dependent 
partners and children are not included. 

The bulk of that increase followed the expansion of the EU in 2004, 
which has seen more than 600,000 Eastern Europeans arriving in the UK 
to work. 

Although more foreign workers have settled in urban and semi-urban 
areas - rising from 288,000 in 2003 to 514,000 last year - in 
proportionate terms the countryside has seen a far more dramatic 

The sharpest increase was in Herefordshire, where the number of 
foreign NI registrations rose tenfold in three years, while eight 
rural districts across the country saw sixfold rises in foreign 

According to separate Home Office figures, the most popular 
occupations for Eastern European migrants are in the hospitality and 
catering trade. 

But in rural areas, many thousands also work for labour gangmasters, 
hired out to farmers to pick or process fruit and vegetables. 

In farming areas such as East Anglia, which were previously 
unaccustomed to high levels of immigration, this has led to marked 
social change. 

The commission's annual report acknowledges that the influx of labour 
has contributed to "strong economic performance" in rural areas, but 
adds: "The sheer scale and speed of immigration has also put a big 
strain on rural local authorities, both in their ability to provide 
services and ensure that new migrants are successfully integrated 
into their host communities." 

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: 
"As the report recognises the scale and speed of immigration are 
critical to our ability to integrate new immigrants. 

"The present Government has allowed, indeed encouraged, the arrival 
of two million immigrants over the last ten years, placing a massive 
strain on our infrastructure and on our society. 

"The first step must be to get the numbers down to a reasonable 

A separate Government report on race relations earlier this year 
warned that rural towns and villagers are now more at risk from race 
riots than the northern industrial towns such as Burnley and Oldham 
which suffered serious disorder in 2001. 

In Boston, Lincolnshire, a huge influx of foreign workers has boosted 
the population by 10 per cent since 2004. 

Council leaders in some areas have warned that schools, hospitals and 
social services are struggling to cope with increased demand, while 
the British Chambers of Commerce has claimed that a generation of 
young Britons face going straight from "education to welfare" because 
they cannot find jobs. 

Today's rural commission report also reveals that there are nearly 
400,000 fewer young people - aged 15 to 29 - in rural districts than 
there were 20 years ago. 

The average age in the countryside is now 44, compared with 38 in 
towns and cities. 

Commission chairman Dr Stuart Burgess warned of a growing 
"demographic divide", and said: "The loss of young people is a real 
threat to the future diversity and sustainability of rural 

"Much more needs to be done to retain young people and provide them 
with opportunities and incentives to return to their roots if they 

The study identifies the lack of affordable housing as "one of the 
most serious, if not the most serious, problem facing rural England 

A 'Service Desert' An estimated 233,000 rural residents live in a 
'financial services desert', according to the report. 

These are defined as areas with no bank, building society or cash 
machine within 2.5 miles, and no post office within 1.25 miles. 

The number of banks and building societies in rural areas fell by 
around 5 per cent last year. 

However, provision of cash machines was up by around 15 per cent. 

There were "appreciable falls" in the provision of NHS dentists (down 
20 per cent) as well as petrol stations, job centres, post offices 
and schools. 

In rural areas only a quarter of people live within 2.5 miles of an 
NHS dentist. Only 44 per cent are within 2.5 miles of their GP. 

Vin de Yorkshire Thanks to global warming England and Wales now boast 
almost 400 vineyards, including sites as far north as Leeds. 

Earlier spring and longer summers mean mean more insect activity as 
well as more demand for water extraction, leading to reduced river 
flows, the commission says. 

The carbon footprint of the average countryside dweller is slightly 
higher than in towns, mainly because of the greater use of cars. 

But the countryside is helping to tackle carbon emissions through a 
sharp increase in the production of "green" energy. 

The cultivation of energy crops - including wood and oil seeds - has 
risen from 1,800 acres in 2003 to 230,000 acres in 2005.

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