Sheffield MP easing Roma migrant fears

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg
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Sheffield MP Nick Clegg has moved to calm fears about the next anticipated wave of Eastern European migrants in the New Year.

From January, restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians will be eased so citizens of the two countries can move elsewhere within the European Union.

But there are fears about how Britain will cope with more immigrants - after problems with Roma and Slovak people who have moved to Page Hall in Sheffield.

Long-term residents of the area have complained of rubbish, gangs on the streets until the early hours of the morning, and people living up to 15 to a house.

Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett has spoken out on the issue, calling for Roma and Slovaks to ‘adhere to our standards’.

And fellow former Labour cabinet minister Jack Straw has admitted allowing unrestricted Eastern European migration was a ‘spectacular mistake’.

Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Mr Clegg said: “There are two big differences with when the first wave of immigration was allowed - firstly, at that time we were one of only three countries who allowed unrestricted immigration whereas this time all EU states are doing it.

“Therefore, the effect will be spread through all EU member states.

“Secondly, we have decided to change the rules about access to benefits - people cannot just arrive here and start claiming.”

But Mr Clegg said the Government ‘cannot predict’ numbers of immigrants coming to the UK from Eastern Europe.

Mr Blunkett has complained that Government cuts to funding for projects helping immigrants settle-in have worsened the situation.

But Mr Clegg said: “The solution to the problem is in the hands of people in the areas affected - community leaders need to talk to each other to address the issues and show respect for each other. It is typical of Labour to blame the Government.”