It has long been a criticism of UK migrant policy that while the middle and upper classes tend to be in favour of welcoming refugees (and economic migrants alike), they rarely end up living in close proximity with them – that pleasure falls predominantly upon the working class.
According to the Guardian today, Home Office data shows that 57% of asylum seekers live in the poorest third of the UK as opposed to 10% who live in the richest third:
“More than five times as many asylum seekers live in the poorest third of the country as in the richest third”.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper has responded to the news by saying “It’s a deeply unfair shambles,” and continues:
“You’ve got the asylum hostels concentrated in the lowest income areas and also in a very small number of areas. It’s just not fair to do it that way. It’s not good for community cohesion, it’s not good for local authorities … it also creates a sense of resentment.”
The article included a graph to show the ten cities which shoulder the greatest burden when it comes to housing asylum seekers.
And went on to point out that “34,936 asylum seekers live in areas with Labour-led councils compared with 1,680 in Conservative-led areas”.
It is no secret that Labour has been losing votes to UKIP for a while now – perhaps the vast number of asylum seekers and subsequent refugees living in traditionally Labour voting areas of the country can help explain the exodus to alternative parties.
Perhaps still, Jeremy Corbyn and Labour leadership have contributed to their own voter problem by pushing for more asylum seekers to enter the UK.
In January 2016 after visiting the ‘jungle’ refugee camp in Calais, Corbyn urged people living in the camp to apply to come to the UK and for the application process to be fast tracked:
“we’re talking 3,000 people… it’s not very many”.
According to this YouGov survey published September 2016, 52% of respondents who voted Labour in 2015 but said they will not vote Labour next time around said it was partially because Labour aren’t ‘currently representing the views of people like me’.
Whether Labour MPs like Yvette Cooper taking a stand against the injustice of distribution of, and saddling of Labour councils in poor parts of the UK with asylum seekers will change their minds, or whether it comes too little too late remains to be seen.