Updated: Wednesday, 20th November 2019 @ 5:39am

Immigration – are UK winners or losers overall? Manchester public figures hit back at negative impact survey

Immigration – are UK winners or losers overall? Manchester public figures hit back at negative impact survey

By Sean Axtell

While a whopping 56% of Britons believe that immigration has had a negative impact on the UK, Manchester public figures are standing firm that the UK are the 'winners' overall.

The recent survey by Channel 5 also found that 47% of people thought that migrants from Bulgaria and Romania should have no right to live, work or claim benefits in the UK.

The survey came following comments made by Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn and former Home Office Secretary, that dropping eastern European Immigration restrictions in 2004 was a ‘spectacular mistake.’

Manchester Central MP, Lucy Powell, agreed that the Home Office had made an error in predicting the number of border entrants, but told MM of the positive effect that immigration has had on her district.

"My constituency is incredibly diverse with people from a very wide range of backgrounds and there are lots of advantages to this,” she said.

"There are also two universities in my constituency which constantly attract the very best international students."

Greater Manchester is a region that owes its heritage largely to immigration, it homes 22,111 Polish immigrants, 4% of the region’s population, with 6362 living in Central Manchester.

Leczek Pawlik, Vice Chairman of the Polish Parish Community, said he can understand Mr Straw’s comments that the UK has become ‘overrun’, however, he stressed the Polish people are good for Manchester’s economy.

He told MM: “The benefits for Manchester is the work ethic of Polish people; they fill in the gaps.’’

Mr Pawlik said many local companies requested that he refers Polish people to their organisations for interviews as they were preferable to UK natives.

The benefits of immigration are cultural as well as economical, according to Dr James Hopkins from Manchester University.

"We are the winners from immigration, there's no doubt about that," said Dr Hopkins.

"Immigration has built cities like Manchester and migrants have brought skills but much, much more.

"They have brought the foods they love and the types of clothes they wear and they have influenced what we all chose to do in our own lives."

Ms Powell did not speak directly on the subject of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants, but she did voice concerns over current immigration policy.

"Student visitor visas aren’t included in net migration figures and are issued to people who don’t necessarily have to prove that they are coming for a course,” she said.  

“Tightening on abuses of this is one thing that Labour has been calling on.’’

Image courtesy Christopher Elison, with thanks

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