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Migration

Volume 712: debated on Thursday 9 July 2009

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (John Denham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today I am announcing the successful proposals for England to receive a share of the Migration Impacts Fund. The fund provides £35 million across the UK for 2009-10 financed by a levy on migrants and, subject to a review in the autumn, a similar amount in 2010-11. This money will be used to tackle illegal working practices and reduce local pressure on public services.

This funding works alongside the Government’s points-based system, which means that only those migrants whom the country needs can come here. The money will be made available quickly and directly to local services across the country, including police, schools and hospitals.

These front-line services, police, councils, the NHS and voluntary organisations have identified projects in their area that will make the biggest difference to insulating them and local people against the impact of migration.

Every region of England will benefit, with the amount each receives being weighted towards the areas where international migration has had the greatest short-term impact.

Projects receiving funding include those introducing tougher measures to crack down on rogue employers, those creating more teachers in schools to ensure good results for all and those increasing GP registration to cut pressures on emergency services and A&E.

Fairness in employment

The vast majority of employers are responsible but a small minority attempt to flout the law, undercut minimum wages and exploit low-paid workers, many of whom are migrants. We are funding projects that will protect existing workers through enforcing the minimum wage and by increasing awareness of health and safety regulations ensuring that all employers meet their obligations to all workers.

Housing services

There is no evidence of unfair access to migrants in social housing. However, in some areas local authorities report concerns that the housing used by migrants can be overcrowded or in poor condition. This can lead to local tensions and cohesion issues. Funding is being targeted to this by cracking down on rogue landlords to improve the quality of neighbourhoods for all residents.

Children and young people

Funding will be targeted at those schools dealing with a sudden influx of pupils whose first language is not English. This will support extra multilingual teachers, freeing up teaching time for the benefit of all the class and helping new arrivals to settle in quickly.

More English language lessons

Being able to speak English is vital in order to find work and to play a full role in the community. Funding provision through the MIF will mean that migrants will be paying for their own classes and ensure that they can access local services properly, reducing the pressure on services and the cost to public services from translation and interpretation.

Community safety

Migrants to this country should understand our laws and sign up to our shared values. Funding will be provided for projects that tackle anti-social behaviour and will support extra police community support officers.

Health

Local services report that migrants often do not understand how to access local healthcare in the most appropriate and therefore cheapest way. Funding will be targeted to increase GP registration relieving pressures on A&E.

Every project has been assessed on the basis that it will help migrants to integrate into local communities and in doing so benefit the settled community. The agreed grant allocation for this year will be paid in one instalment.