UKIP leader Nigel Farage declared that his anti-EU and anti-immigration party will be a “lasting” force in British politics after they made massive gains in the English council elections last night.
UKIP has won an unprecedented 113 seats so far and is averaging 25% of the vote in the wards where it is standing.
The ruling Conservative party, which UKIP voters feel has not got tough enough on immigration, have lost control of 10 councils, but retained 17, while Labour has gained two councils and boosted its councillors by over 200.
David Cameron said he would “work really hard to win back” supporters who had decided to cast a mid-term protest vote for UKIP.
Contests are taking place in 27 English county councils and seven unitary authorities, as well as in Anglesey.
All major parties are now ‘talking tough’ and vowing to cut immigration, but none of them have put forward any solution to the mass migration from Eastern European countries such as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania.
Details of UKIP’s policies on immigration and the EU are coming under increasing scrutiny in the left wing press.
Labour supporting Guardian newspaper has turned its attention to UKIP’s manifesto posted on its website, which claims that immigration is adding 1 million people to the population every four to five years.
UKIP’s outline policy includes proposals to introduce a five-year freeze on immigration for permanent settlement until UK borders are under control. The party has said there would be exceptions, but has not yet said how many.
It has also said over-staying on a visa would become a criminal offence. Immigrants would not be able to apply for public housing or benefits until they had paid tax for five years.
It adds: “Any future immigration for permanent settlement must be on a strictly limited and controlled basis where that can clearly be shown to benefit the British people as a whole and our economy.” No definition of this is provided.
UKIP also says it would “enable people to come and work in the UK by means of a points-based work permit system (which the UK already has) for limited periods of time and to fulfil specific gaps in the job market that cannot be filled by the existing work force”. No detail is given.
It offers a form of amnesty, saying “EU citizens who have been established in the UK for seven years or more will, depending on their circumstances, be able to apply for permanent leave to remain (provided they fulfil certain criteria and are eligible to apply for work permits)”.
EU and EEA citizens already have free movement rights which can only be removed if Britain pulled out of a number of EU treaties, which even UKIP have not promised.
UKIP would, however, leave the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Convention on Refugees, which are quite separate from the European Union.
This week Nigel Farage spoke of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria, but did not say what he thought the Home Office were supposed to do about a treaty signed by the last Labour Government:
“The British public are genuinely concerned about opening up the doors to Bulgaria and Romania next year.
“They are concerned because we have a million youngsters unemployed, we have wages being driven down and I am afraid a crimewave in London being caused by Romanians already.”
Many Romanians and Bulgarians are arriving early to ‘beat the rush’ when work restrictions end next year, despite the need to apply for a ‘yellow card’ permit to study and work in the UK.
Home Office ‘same day service’ appointments are now available for yellow card permits which allow study and work up to 40 hours per week for NVQ vocational courses.
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Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for care workers and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
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