Labour’s immigration chief Yvette Cooper led a meeting to discuss local concerns about immigration policy.
The meeting at Plumptre Hall atChurch Street, Eastwood on April 13,as the party launched its election manifesto.
Alongside Ashield candidate Gloria De Piero, Ms Cooper fielded questions on Labour’s policy and met critisicm that she is both pandering to retain voters from UKIP, and also failing to go far enough to reduce net immigration.
Tony Wardle of Newthorpe Common said: “To be perfectly blunt there’s too many coming in. Half of them dont work but come here just to get on benefits, and get the free housing. They don’t pay council tax, they’re bleeding us dry.”
Steve Harper from Eastwood said: “I’m suspicious as to why we need a meeting about immigration. I think we’re pandering to UKIP. Their scaremongering is working. “
John Whetton of Eastwood said: “We couldn’t manage without the people that come into this country.”
Ms Cooper said: “We got some things wrong, but so did the Tories. The immigration target they made grand promises about is in tatters.”
She added: “If you went to Spain or Germany you wouldn’t expect to be on benefits so we think it’s not fair for you to be here unless you’ve been here, working, for at least two years.
Tackling illegal immigration was also a major concern for some local people. She responded: “We need stronger border controls, 1,000 more border staff paid for by visa waiver reforms to charge people the way other countries do.”
“Ukip are being devisive. By getting rid of more employment rights they would make expolitation even worse.”
“Ukip are being devisive and they dont have practical answers. By getting rid of more employment rights they would make it even worse.
“We need stronger border controls, 1,000 more border staff paid for by visa waiver reforms to charge people the way other countries do.”
“What Ed Milliband is saying, is here’s how we can change the whole country, by getting rid of the zero hours contracts that have been exploited - supporting the health service, and getting down deficit down in a balance way.
“The Economy doesn’t work for working people. The Tories are giving tax breaks to millionaires while millions of people are getting squeezed.
The group also discussed making significant changes to stop exploitation of foreign migrants.
Gloria De Piero said: “If you’re working regular hours for 12 weeks it’s a job, it should be called a job and you should get the same rights as everybody else.
George Dickens, of Church Street, said: “But will Brussels allow you to change the laws?”
Ms Cooper added: “Other european countries wanted to strengthen rules to stop the undercutting and only Britain was vetoing it, so there are laws where the rest of Europe wants to change it and the Tory government didn’t want to.”