Hugo Gye, Daily Mail (London), December 31, 2013
A leading Conservative has warned that council taxpayers face rising costs from the influx of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants set to start tomorrow–and claims that Roma are already causing trouble by begging aggressively and defecating in public.
Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster City Council, said that local authorities had ‘no idea’ how many Eastern Europeans would come to Britain after immigration restrictions are lifted on January 1.
And a police commissioner in the Midlands revealed that more crimes are committed by Romanians than by any other group of foreign nationals in his area even before the rules have changed.
Many Tories and immigration campaigners have been warning for month that tens of thousands of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens are set to come to Britain when laws banning them from are repealed tomorrow.
Ms Roe said today that some members of the Roma community have already been causing trouble in Central London with their aggressive and unhygienic behaviour.
‘You’ve only got to wander around Marble Arch at 7.30 in the morning to see the camps,’ she told The World at One on BBC Radio 4.
‘We have people walking out of their front door to find people sleeping on their front doorsteps, people defecating on their front doorstep–it’s extremely unpleasant and it goes with the very aggressive begging and pickpocketing and other sorts of crime in the area which affects both residents and tourists.
‘It’s this minority one is really concerned about, but it is this minority that has this really big impact.’
She added: ‘We have been trying hard to make sure we are prepared but one of the issues we face is we just have no idea how many people are going to come to London and draw on our resources.’
Shortly before Christmas, the Government rushed through new rules to ban immigrants from receiving unemployment benefits for their first three months in the country.
However, Ms Roe called for this limit to be extended even further, saying: ‘I would much rather it had been a year, if not two years.’
Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said that Romanian criminals were more prolific than those from any other foreign country and expressed fears that the problem would only get worse.
Matthew Ellis said that he was seeking talks with Home Secretary Theresa May in a bid to mitigate the impact of a large number of poor immigrants arriving at the same time.
It is understood that 981 Romanians were arrested in Staffordshire between April 2010 and September 2013, followed by 967 Polish nationals and 636 Lithuanians.
In total, 7.5 per cent of all arrests in the county involved foreign nationals.
‘I am currently talking to the chief constable about the new changes,’ Mr Ellis said today. ‘This is an area where Stoke-on-Trent is seeing a significant rise in the number of people who are not only being placed there by the state as asylum seekers but also foreign nationals moving there.
‘It’s clear that their cultures are slightly different and their expectations are slightly different.’
MigrationWatch UK, which campaigns against unrestricted immigration, has claimed that Britain will be the most lucrative destination in the EU for new immigrants despite the new rules on benefits.
‘Britain’s generous benefits system acts as a pull factor for migrants from across Europe,’ said chairman Sir Andrew Green.
‘There must now be a renegotiation of the benefit system in the EU which was designed before 100million people in much poorer countries joined the EU.
But business leaders have welcomed the impending arrival of Bulgarians and Romanians, saying it will help boost the workforce and strengthen the economy.
The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that 55 per cent of its members believe immigration has had a positive impact on the capital.
The UK imposed seven-year restrictions on Romania and Bulgaria after they joined the EU in 2007–only allowing citizens a visa if they were self-employed, had a job offer, or were given a specialist role.