Monday, 30 December 2013

Migration, Sidmouth and East Devon

On 1st January the UK will be expecting between 20 thousand
About Us | Migration Matters Trust
and 70 thousand Romanian and Bulgarian migrants a year:
MigrationWatchUK | An independent, voluntary, non-political body concerned about the scale of immigration into the UK.

However, many of the larger hotels in Sidmouth have been employing Romanians and Bulgarians for the past seven years:

Bulgarians and Romanians gained the right to visa-free travel to the UK in 2007, when their countries joined the EU. 
BBC News - Q&A: Bulgarian and Romanian immigration

And most of the care homes in Sidmouth employ nurses and care workers from the EU and beyond
www.southwest-ra.gov.uk/media/SWRA/Scrutiny/Migrant Workers/Scrutiny_Report_-_Migrant_Workers_final.pdf

Like many non-UK workers, they will have found jobs through employment agencies:
Jobs in Devon - Sidmouth – find and apply for jobs in Devon - Sidmouth with UKStaffsearch

Earlier this year, Channel 4 News took the leader of UKIP to Bulgaria "to find out if his fears about an influx of immigrants, when EU restrictions are lifted, are justified."

▶ Nigel Farage visits Bulgaria - full video - YouTube

Evan Davis asked the question what would happen 'the day the immigrants left':

The Day the Immigrants Left, Part-4/6 - YouTube

Evan Davis presents a program exploring the effects of immigration in the UK by focusing on Wisbech, a town in Cambridgeshire.
Since 2004 this once prosperous market town has received up to 9,000 immigrants seeking work - the majority from Eastern Europe. But with nearly 2,000 locals unemployed and claiming benefits, many of them blame the foreign workers for their predicament.
To test if the town needs so many foreign workers, immigrant employees are temporarily removed from their jobs, and the work given to the local unemployed. Now the town's British workers have a chance to prove they can do it.
Eleven British unemployed workers are recruited to go into a range of different Wisbech workplaces including a potato company, an asparagus farm, an Indian restaurant and a building site run by a local landlord.
Moving beyond the workplace, Evan Davis investigates how the town's local public services, such as schools and the NHS, are coping with the demands of the new arrivals.
As the British unemployed workers get to grips with their new jobs, this documentary examines the facts and dispels the myths around the subject of immigration.

BBC One - The Day the Immigrants Left

Boris Johnson asked the same questions in the Telegraph last year:

Why are immigrants to UK employed more than Brits? (07May12) - YouTube
Why do foreigners get all the jobs, asks Boris Johnson - Telegraph
Boris Johnson calls for investigation into why so many British jobs are being given to foreign workers | Mail Online

Looking, then, at Sidmouth and East Devon, the issues might be:
> low pay in the hospitality industry - which does not attract enough local workers:
Futures Forum: Jobs and services: the hospitality industry
> and in the caring industry - which also employs a lot of non-UK workers:

Futures Forum: Jobs and services: caring for the elderly
> the lack of training for local youngsters:
Futures Forum: Apprenticeships in Sidmouth
> and the unavailability of affordable housing for local families- especially in Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: Affordable housing in Sidmouth: DCH and EDDC
Futures Forum: “We need the Government to address the chronic lack of affordable housing, take real steps to improve the private rented sector and to urgently consider the impact its cuts to housing benefit are having.”

East Devon has a very low unemployment record:
BBC News - Devon unemployment rate fell in September
Jobseeker's Allowance claimant count continues to fall in Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon & Teignbridge, ONS figures show | Exeter Express and Echo

And in fact has a good record in educational achievement:

The proportion of the working age resident population qualified to NVQ level 3 in East Devon is very high, with the area ranking in the top 20% of districts nationally.

But the population is ageing, which begs the question of who will look after the elderly:

The labour market in East Devon is good with low levels of unemployment and good qualification levels. However we have to remain aware of the impact that the aging population will have on the labour market and the levels of those who are economically active. 

Where is the pressure coming from for housing?
Is it simply the fact that a lot of people from anywhere outside Devon want to move to the county?
Futures Forum: Housing: "it would be impossible to build to meet demand because there is a never-ending queue of people who want to move to Devon."
Futures Forum: Devon County and national planning policy: "The NPPF has been sufficiently poisonous a development that 38 Conservative MPs expressed their misgivings about it as long ago as March last year in a letter to the Telegraph."
And is it not an important factor in the demand for housing that many wish to retire to Sidmouth and East Devon?
Futures Forum: Elderly to blame for housing crisis...?

Affordability of homes is an issue in the district with East Devon being in the top 25% of all Local Authority areas for house prices but one of the lowest nationally in terms of wages.
East Devon is in the top 25% of all Local Authority areas for house prices. Alongside this the average weekly wage for those living in the district is £471.60⁶ making East Devon one of the lowest wage areas in England. This discrepancy between wages and house prices puts us in the bottom 25% of districts in the affordability index which is the ratio between average earnings and average house prices. 

There have been all sorts of rumours about who will be taking up residence in the new town:
Manchester Housing. - a Freedom of Information request to Manchester City Council - WhatDoTheyKnow
Cranbrook rumours ‘categorically untrue’ - News - Midweek Herald
East Devon families move into cheap Cranbrook homes - News - Sidmouth Herald

The deputy leader of East Devon District Council Andrew Moulding  has hotly denied rumours circulating around Devon that  people from Nottingham, Bradford and Birmingham have first pick  of some of the affordable homes.
Mr Moulding talked to our reporter Wendy Buckingham about the allegations and allocations  CLICK HERE
Devon Homes For Devon People - Heart Exeter News

How do we determine that someone is a 'local'? 
Ottery ensures that participants of its Tar Barrels event come from 'local families':
▶ Flaming Tar Barrels of Ottery St. Mary, November 5th 2012 - YouTube

The fact, however, is that Sidmouth is largely made up of 'migrants' from elsewhere in the UK,           for example:
Sidmouth and District Lancastrian Association 50th anniversary - Places - Lancashire Life
Sidmouth Yorkshire society seeks members - News - Sidmouth Herald

With Britain's oldest civic society having been founded by concerned 'outsiders':
Sid Vale Association - About the Sid Vale Association

... the town has long been a retirement haven for the well-heeled.
BBC - h2g2 - Sidmouth and The Sid Valley, Devon, England. - A6092480

In fact, it seems that East Devon has always attracted people from outside the area:

The migration of population into East Devon from other parts of the UK show that in 2011 there were 1130 more people moving into the area than out.

No comments: