3:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013
PRIME Minister David Cameron this week wrote an open letter to Thurrock Gazette readers. Here is what he said:
"Under Labour, immigration got out of control. Readers of the Thurrock Gazette will understand this as well as anyone.
"Conservatives in Government are determined to sort the problem out. That’s why we have worked hard since we were elected in 2010 to bring immigration down to a more manageable level.
"We’ve capped economic migration for people outside the EU. We’ve clamped down on 180 bogus colleges that allowed people coming into this country claiming to be students.
"And we’ve imposed tougher requirements on family visas. The numbers are coming down in a dramatic way as a result.
"Figures out last week showed net immigration is down by a third since the last election. Controlling immigration has nothing to do with prejudice of any sort, as the people of Thurrock well know.
"For years, this area has opened the door to people from every corner of the globe. Sixty-five years ago, the Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury. On it were 500 people from Jamaica in search of a better life. They found one here.
"Throughout our history we have welcomed new citizens from around the world. I’m proud of that.
"In fact, one of my proudest moments as Prime Minister was standing with 80,000 others in the Olympic Stadium last year to roar Mo Farah to victory. This was a man who arrived here from Somalia as a boy. And when asked if he would have preferred to run for Somalia he said: “Look mate, this is my country – and when I put on my Great Britain vest I’m proud.”
"This is our island story – open and diverse. But clearly there has got to be a limit to immigration. And under Labour that limit was shattered.
"During their time in office, 2.2 million more people came into the country than left it. In their last year in power alone, net immigration was a staggering 235,000. These extra numbers put a huge pressure on housing, schools and jobs.
"More than 900 young people in Thurrock are currently unemployed. And as your local Conservative MP Jackie Doyle-Price told Parliament recently, there is a desperate shortage of primary school places in Chafford Hundred.
"Of course immigration doesn’t always cause these problems, but it often makes it more difficult to solve them.
"Have Labour learnt their lesson from the past? No. It has refused to back the Government’s immigration cap and a range of other measures that we’re taking to control immigration.
"After years of out-of-control immigration under Labour, the country needed Conservatives to come into government, get a grip and toughen up the immigration system. That is exactly what we’ve done.
"Across the board we have made our immigration system more strict and more rigorous, with the result that net immigration is now down by a third. We listened to you.
"We promised to cut immigration. And the figures last week show we have kept our word."
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