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'London is the world's spice rack': City sees highest immigration levels in UK

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions revealed two of west London's areas have some of the highest levels of immigration in the UK

West London constituencies have some of the highest levels of immigration in England and Wales.

The Brent Central area scored highest of all west London constituencies with 11,163 adults from overseas given national insurance numbers in 2014.

Nearby Brent North wasn't far behind its neighbour with 10,612, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

This works out as a rate of 80.8 people from overseas for every 1,000 people living in Brent North and 79.2 in Brent Central.

Only two other constituencies in England and Wales had a higher rate of foreigners moving to the area: Tottenham (86.5 per 1,000) and West Ham (82.4 per 10,000).

Harrow East saw the largest increase in immigration in west London over the year, with a rise or more than 100% since 2010 - 3,182 foreign adults registered national insurance numbers in 2010, rising to 6,748 in 2014.

Lauren Keith, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brent Central, wants the myth that immigrants don't contribute to the economy banished.

She said: "Immigration in Brent has given us a diverse and interesting community. On a walk down Willesden High Road, you will see Polish foodstores, Brazilian hairdressers, Irish butchers and Portuguese cafes."

She is still mindful of being vigilant about abuses of the system, however, adding: "This is why in Government we have ensured the introduction of comprehensive border checks so we can effectively track down those who have illegally overstayed their visa."

Luke Parker, Brent North's Conservative candidate, said: "Brent is a great part of London because of immigration. New York may be the world's melting pot but London is the spice rack and that's why I love it."

'Natural process'

Scott Bartle, Green candidate for Brent North, said: "Migration is a natural process and whilst people migrate for many different reasons, it is mostly driven by necessity: the need to improve life for themselves and their families, or to escape from a repressive regime, or to flee persecution."

He wants to step away from the idea that immigration is "positive or negative".

He told getwestlondon: "It enables politicians to blame others for the shortage of housing, lack of decent jobs or impact to cuts of services. from the real issues relating to shortage of housing, lack of decent jobs and the impact of cuts to services."

Mr Bartle explained why people are moving away from areas such as Westminster and choosing areas such as Brent.

He added: "Figures released last year showed that London gets 24 times more infrastructure spending as somewhere like the north east."

The number of people from overseas being given national insurance numbers has shot up over the past five years. In 2010, 655,040 people were awarded them from overseas but in 2014 this had risen by 15% to 764,190.

Nana Asante, TUSC parliamentary candidate for Harrow East, said she was not surprised her constituency had one of the highest number of people registering for NI numbers.

She said: "People have come to Harrow and contributed positively to its economy and culture. The National Health Service would be unable to function effectively without immigrants.”

Ms Asante believes managing the influx of immigrants can be a challenge.

She added: “When it is mismanaged, the blame often falls on immigrants.

"When we tap into the positives of immigration, the whole community benefits. For example, those coming here bring with them knowledge about other communities and that knowledge could be invaluable for businesses wishing to sell to new markets.”

Almost all of London's constituencies had a higher than average rate of foreigners seeking national insurance numbers with Harrow East also in the top ten nationally.

Twickenham had the lowest proportion of foreign adults seeking national insurance numbers in west London, with only 1,199 - or 10.4 for every 1,000 residents.

The average figure for the whole of the UK was for 11.9 foreign adults seeking national insurance numbers per head of the existing population.


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