CHANGING FACE OF BOSTON
Boston Borough Council's report on the social impact of population change has today (Wednesday, October 3 2012) been made public.
You can read the entire report.
Cllr Paul Kenny, chairman of the special task and finish group (pictured right) which has produced the "common sense and realistic" report, stressed: "This is just the beginning - you have to start somewhere. We have looked at some of the key issues and made some serious recommendations."
He urged everyone to read the report and make their comments and suggestions known. "We are not closing the door and saying this is the final report."
Cllr Mike Gilbert, portfolio holder for housing, property and community, said: "This is a brave attempt by Boston Borough Council to explore where tensions come from. We have taken for granted that there are tensions and rather than manage them we are looking at the causes and tackling these."
Cllr Kenny urged everyone to read the report and make their comments known by Thursday, October 18. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Janette Collier, Senior Democratic Service Officer, Boston Borough Council, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR.
The report will go to the council's Corporate and Community Committee on Thursday, October 18, Cabinet on Wednesday, November 7, and full council on Monday, November 19.
CHANGING FACE OF BOSTON:
A four-month inquiry into the effects of population increase in Boston following an influx of migrant workers from eastern Europe has made 28 local, national and international recommendations.
They range from recommendations to better control anti-social behaviour on Boston's streets to automatic access to increased EU funding triggered by inward migration.
But in a joint foreword the chairman of the Boston Borough Council task and finish group investigating the impact of population change, Cllr Paul Kenny, and council leader, Cllr Peter Bedford, stress there is no single solution.
They acknowledge "unprecedented population change" since 2004 with the latest Census showing an increase in Boston's population from 55,750 in 2001 to 64,600 now.
They say: "We have made observations for others to consider and sought to escalate comments to both national and European governments. What is clear is that the recent changes are set to continue. Our report does not, nor cannot, contain all the answers as there is no single deliverable solution to the pressures placed on Boston society. Everyone has their part to play... we must be understanding, tolerant and work together to find solutions to the challenge and secure Boston's fair share of dwindling finances."
Evidence and information gathered by the task and finish group from the police, employers, educators, the press, other councils in Lincolnshire, the MP, council enforcement and health departments and experts on migration and population change were previously published, warts and all, on the council's website.
Opinions expressed over the course of the four months ranged across extremes - from welcoming the multi-cultural mix to demanding a halt to inward migration.
The interim report with draft recommendations will now be considered by the council's corporate and communities committee, allowing for public consultation. The Cabinet and council will then consider a final report, with recommendations to be passed to partner agencies, other pertinent organisations and Government.
The evidence gathered was exhaustive and wide-ranging, and actually began two years previous when the Centre for Good Relations held workshops involving civic leaders, migrant workers, service providers, the voluntary sector, members of the public and the Boston protest march organisers.
The report concludes that it forms a basis from which to measure developments and define change but comes with a health warning: "Boston Borough Council alone cannot control labour markets, cannot solve European problems, cannot re-draft European legislation nor easily change national policy.
We have, however, tried to highlight and spotlight the concerns of our residents by taking them to the appropriate accountable authorities."
The recommendations include:
- a zero tolerance approach to street drinking and associated anti-social behaviour and implementation of a restorative justice programme - making good their damage - for those who are involved in bad behaviour;
- Discretion to cap applications to sell alcohol;
- Stricter controls from Government for vehicles entering the country from abroad;
- Clearer rules on deportation of those not meeting their EU treaty rights (their right to live and work in Boston);
- MPs and MEPs to develop an EU trigger mechanism for automatic increases in funding to deal with population increase from inward migration;
- More funding for schools with pupils who do not have English as a first language and provision of more English as a second language courses;
- Urgent adoption of a policy of licensing all Houses of Multiple Occupation;
- Greater protection from Government for vulnerable workers from exploitation and a crackdown on rogue gangmasters;
- Better access for the unemployed to all local job vacancies;
- Working with Boston BID to help European shops more welcoming to Bostonians, promotion of Boston as a multi-cultural shopping destination and promotion of West Street as a vibrant and safe place to visit;
- Better monitoring to improve health care in an increasing population;
The report will be presented to the National Migration Group at the end of the year.