17:06 Thursday 26th April 2012
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
NICK FAIRBAIRN: The interpretation and translation services provided by Peterborough Crown Court and Peterborough Magistrates Court has almost doubled in the past five years. The cost has risen from £36,447 in 2006/7 to more than £75,000 in the last financial year. MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson told me earlier it is a big problem. (TAPE)
STEWART JACKSON: It shows that again Peterborough is suffering in terms of the impact without any Government assistance in terms of extra funding of uncontrolled European Union migration. We’ve seen an increase from £36,000 on these translation costs in 2007 to over £75,000 in the last financial year, and that falls on the court service in Peterborough. And I think that speaks for a bigger problem, which is that we need to control EU migration, or at least we need to get special help from Government to deal with things like housing schools health and obviously the criminal justice system.
NICK FAIRBAIRN: There are reports in the local media today that Jonathan Djanogly who’s the MP for Huntingdon aof course, and the Parliamentary Secretary of State for Court Services, spoke about these figures in the Commons. Did you hear him speak about the figures Stewart?
STEWART JACKSON: Well that is actually not strictly true. I tabled a Parliamentary Question and he answered the Question, so technically it was debated in the House of Commons. But it wouldn’t have happened without my Parliamentary Question. He is a near neighbour, and he does understand the particular pressures we’re under in Peterborough and other parts of the East of England. But I think, as I say, it’s a bigger issue about the consequences of EU migration. This government does talk a lot about non-EU migration, but we have on some estimates had 20,000 people from the European Union come to Peterborough in the last eight years, and that has obviously put a big strain on the delivery of public services. The majority of those people work hard, pay their taxes, are good decent citizens. But obviously you’re going to have occasions where people fall into the criminal justice system. They need their kids to be educated. They have health needs. And there are issues around crime and policing. And we’re not getting any specific help from central government, under this government, or the previous government
NICK FAIRBAIRN: So what do we need in Peterborough Stewart to help?
STEWART JACKSON: Well, what we’re doing is I’ve convened a meeting with the Immigration Minister Damian Green, and I’m going to met with him and other members of Parliament such as Liz Truss in South West Norfolk, Mark Simmons in Boston and Skegness, where there are pinch-points as a result of EU migration, and we’re going to actually explain to the Minister the particular issues we have. And we’re going to ask him if he can work with his colleagues for instance in the Department of Communities and Local Government, to convene a working group, so that people at the highest levels in government understand that there are big issues arising, not just from non-EU migration, but from the European Union migration. And I think that will be a start, so that that can perhaps be reflected in some of the funding formulae that Peterborough City Council and other local authorities receive.
NICK FAIRBAIRN: Because for your regular man in the street, they’ll read about these figures, and hear stories about these figures, and automatically say, well, it’s a waste of money. Why are we as Peterborians bearing the brunt of this.
STEWART JACKSON: Well that’s a very good point. The issue really is that if you are going to come and work in the United Kingdom, then you should learn English. You should speak English. And I cannot understand that we’re spending such a significant amount of money. Now I don’t believe that if you’re in the criminal justice system you should be disadvantaged, and you shouldn’t understand what’s going on. But equally, we’re spending over a million pounds via Cambridgeshire Police on translation and interpretation. We’re spending an awful lot in the Hospital Trust, the Primary Care Trust. It’s a big issue that cuts across all public services, and it’s time that Government woke up, it doesn’t matter what party it is, to the particular issues we’ve got in Peterborough. And that’s one of the reasons I’m raising the issue directly with the Immigration Minister on why these figures are so worrying.
NICK FAIRBAIRN: That was the MP for Peterborough, Stewart Jackson.