Hodge demands new points system to be based on length of residence.
04 February 2010: Soon after a recent poll found that 65 per cent of voters believe foreign arrivals get favourable treatment over housing and benefits, senior Labour minister Margaret Hodge has made it clear migrants would be compelled to earn the right to benefits and council housing over a period of several years.
The poll claimed a third of voters supported the BNP’s core policy on people from ethnic minorities losing all state benefits, including NHS treatment.
The assertion is being seen as a poll strategy to counter far-Right BNP’s anti-immigration stand. It comes a little before the General Election, where Hodge faces a challenge in her Barking, East London seat, from BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Cautioning that British values of openness and tolerance were at a risk due an increasing sense of ‘unfairness’ over immigration, Hodge has demand a new points system based on length of residence or national insurance contributions.
Hodge says the intention is to ensure only migrants making a fair contribution to the society get the same rights as local families.
As of now, the Labour strategists are apparently apprehensive of BNP making a dent in the vote bank.
Hodge said she was talking about economic migrants, not genuine refugees. These were people who choose to come here to improve their quality of life. The idea is people have to earn their rights.
Hodge told the Daily Mail it was time to puncture the boil of growing disgruntlement over migrants entering Britain. Hodge clarified the message was not just to her party, but to all mainstream parties
She insisted currently people feel the system was unfair; and it could not be ignored. If they were serious on reconnecting with people, they had to listen to what they were saying.
If they could show they were being fair to people, they could address some of the racist exploitation of the issue that the BNP indulged in.
Hodge agreed that she was criticised for suggesting two years ago that economic migrants’ rights should not come before people born or living in Britain for many years.
But she added they need to have an honest conversation about what’s going on in the working class communities. The very mention of immigration causes controversy and the whole debate is often seen through the prism of racism.
‘The result was parties like the BNP were tapping into people’s frustrations and that’s why they had seen a rise in support for them.