Homeless charity ‘swamped’ by eurozone migrants
A homelessness charity has called on the Government to restrict immigration, saying it is being “swamped” with destitute people fleeing the eurozone’s troubled economies.
By Telegraph reporters, Telegraph reporters
1:05PM BST 27 Jun 2012
The Nightwatch charity in Croydon say it has seen a huge rise in jobless and homeless Europeans arriving in the area as they flee troubled economies.
Chairman Jad Adams, speaking at the charity’s annual meeting, said the charity could collapse if the Government did not stem the flow of immigration as the Eurozone crisis deepens.
He said the charity, which receives grants from including the National Lottery and Croydon Council, cannot increase its capacity “endlessly” and its finances are now under strain.
The charity, formed in 1976, supplies clothing and food to homeless people in the area and also helps find them somewhere to live, but states in its annual report that it believes in “local solutions for local problems”.
The right of free movement between members states of the European Union agreed under treaties is being abused, it claims.
“I fear that many people we see as clients are not exercising their treaty rights to come to look for work, but it is simply more attractive to be poor in this country than in some others.
“We have managed to support them – if with some difficulty – but we cannot go on increasing our capacity endlessly.”
He added: “The free movement of poverty is putting unacceptable strains on charitable work.
“We have already seen the effect of unlimited freedom of movement in the number of clients that we support every night.
“Indigent arrivals from other countries would put an unacceptable strain on ourselves and other charities dealing with the poorest people in society.
“It cannot be beyond the wit of government to impose simple limits on people to demonstrate they are genuinely seeking work.”
Writing in the charity’s annual report, Mr Adams continues: “The government did not conceive that people would come to the country utterly destitute and reliant on the work of charities such as ours.”
He said the movement of labour was an ‘admirable thing’, but said that some migrants ‘simply found it more attractive to be poor in Britain than in their home countries’.
He was speaking after fears were raised that the Eurozone crisis could lead to an increasing number of people from the worst-hit economies, and particularly Greece and Spain, coming to the UK to live to escape poverty.
Speaking about previous attempts to encourage Eastern Europeans to return home he said: “In the past we have encouraged the indigent Eastern Europeans to return home by using foreign-language leaflets and working with such organisations as Crisis and London Reconnections to help anyone who wanted to go back.
“The response was minimal.
“We have to conclude that all our Eastern European clients know about government-sponsored packages to go back to their country of origin, and they do not do so because they do not wish to.”
In the past decade more than 700,000 Eastern Europeans have moved to Britain for work and last month Home Secretary Theresa May announced contingency plans to control immigration should the Euro collapse.