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Rev. Packer, `Provide better jobs, housing, instead of slashing immigration’

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`Britain has benefited from multi-cultural influences’

john_packer.jpg04 February 2010: The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds has urged politicians to work on tackling issues of housing, employment and debt, instead of taking about curbing immigration still further.

Making it clear that Britain has benefited from multi-cultural influences for centuries, John Packer has asserted just before the general elections that policies on housing and employment will create a fairer, more equal and more welcoming society.

Parker said he did not want a tougher immigration régime, but practical policies to benefit all those in most need in their society. This would include positive plans for affordable housing. This would help many who are unable to get on housing lists in urban and rural areas.

Parker said he looked forward to positive plans to create jobs, rather than simply blaming unemployment on the recession.

The assertion came a day after Tory Nicholas Soames and Labour’s Frank Field warned Britain’s population would rise to 85million in 20 years, unless immigration was cut down.

The two had also recommended cutting back immigration by 75 per cent to avoid pressure on schools, housing and the NHS.

Jointly chairing the Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration, the two told claimed the UK was now the most crowded country in Europe.

In his comments carried in the Yorkshire Post, he has asserted that one of their strengths as a nation was that they were a land of immigrants. Over the centuries, people have been coming to the country in search of new opportunities or while getting away from conflict.
In the process, they have been enriching and developing common life.

He said many of them would have Scottish or Welsh blood in their veins. Others could track down their ancestry to the West Indies or Pakistan, though they themselves were English.

Quoting the example of Leeds, he said it had one of the larger Jewish populations in the country, and the city has benefited immensely from their contribution.

Referring to the call for cutting down on immigration by Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration, he said despite the contribution of the migrants to the country apprehensions over their role has again surfaced.

Packer said he had no knowledge of personal ancestors from outside England. Yet, he wanted there to be a culture of hospitality and welcome to this great country.

He added the NHS had benefited from economic migrants. The quality of service would have been affected without them. Besides this, there were many a corner shops depending on them. In recent years many of these had come from Eastern Europe and had contributed to new industries, including technologically-based.

He said student migrants were also enhancing the lives of their colleges and universities.
As a nation, they have prided themselves on being tolerant and welcoming. Yet, there were apprehensions and were being exploited by far-right groups such as the BNP.

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