What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us

Legal immigration boom stressing UK

Stephen Beard Jul 7, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Legal immigration boom stressing UK

Stephen Beard Jul 7, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The British government has been accused of dramatically underestimating the scale of immigration into the UK. An influx of workers from Eastern Europe is putting pressure on British housing and public services. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: When East European countries like Poland joined the EU in 2004, many Britons feared a huge influx of workers from the East.

But the British government soothed those fears. It said that no more than 13,000 migrants a year would head for Britain. Eighteen months later the actual figure, according to a new study, is half a million.

The sheer numbers are causing a problem in some areas. Cheryl Cooper, a councilor from Slough near Heathrow Airport, says her town cannot cope.

CHERYL COOPER: They have nowhere to stay and nowhere to live and we estimate that about a thousand houses have been turned into house in multiple occupation where Polish migrants are actually sleeping on the floor.

The new study shows that unemployment and low wages at home are driving East Europeans to migrate to the more buoyant UK.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.