Ipswich: Let’s wait and see what comes of David Cameron’s pledges over immigration says Labour leader David Ellesmere

Prime Minister David Cameron, delivers a speech on immigration at the University Campus Suffolk, in

Prime Minister David Cameron, delivers a speech on immigration at the University Campus Suffolk, in Ipswich. - Credit: PA

LABOUR councillor David Ellesmere has questioned whether anything will come of the immigration measures outlined by the Prime Minister at today’s keynote speech in Ipswich.

David Ellesmere, leader of the borough council and prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich

David Ellesmere, leader of the borough council and prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Immigrants face tougher curbs on unemployment benefits and access to the health service, as part of a crackdown unveiled by David Cameron at University Campus Suffolk earlier today.

He warned those coming to Britain that they can no longer expect “something for nothing”.

From next year, arrivals from the European Union will be stripped of jobseekers benefits after six months unless they can prove they have been actively looking for a job and stand a “genuine chance” of finding one.

The Government is pledging to beef up the “range and depth” of questions in the habitual residence test, which checks that people meet residence requirements for housing and income-related benefits.

Mr Cameron said his governement will also target illegal immigration - doubling the maximum fine for companies that employ illegal workers to £20,000 - and signal action against so-called “health tourism” that could mean non-EU nationals have to prove they hold insurance before getting care.

Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, Mr Ellesmere – who will stand against Ipswich MP Ben Gummer at the next general election – said he waits to see what measures “actually come out from David Cameron’s speech”.

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He said: “We at the borough council are a bit non-plus because with respect to housing for example we already have residency tests we impose.

“I am not entirely sure what difference the Prime Minister is proposing.

“The Government does not appear to be able to say how many migrants are going to be affected by this.

“It seems these proposals are based more on perception of the problem rather than the problem itself.”

Mr Ellesmere said he feels the route of the problem is the number of migrants who face discrimination when they come to work in the UK.

He added: “I think there is an issue with exploitation, there are some unscrupulous employers paying lower than the minimum wage and offering low quality housing, who are undercutting other employers.”

Mr Ellesmere said Labour introduced a number of measures under the last Government.

“We introduced the points based system for example, for people from outside the UK coming in. There was a general falling off of the levels of migrants from outside the EU.

“What we have seen today is that because the Government is cutting back on the number of people employed at the Border Agency there is a massive back log of failed immigrants waiting to be repatriated.

“The Government is very good at making eye catching announcements which either never make policy or unravel when it does so.

“There has been a lot of publicity around this speech, let’s see what comes of it.”

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