The influx of immigrants into Britain is damaging its culture and corroding community relations, a damning new survey warns
Exclusively revealed by the Yorkshire Post, the YouGov poll of more than 1,000 people across the region shows that politicians have lost voters' trust on immigration and an overwhelming number believe the recent rush of foreigners is having a detrimental effect on our already overcrowded country.
MPs say the survey, commissioned by the Speakout Campaign, which is calling for a referendum on returning key powers from Brussels to Britain, shows the strength of feeling in the region and should be "an absolute wake-up call" to politicians.
An alarming 72 per cent of the 1,225 people surveyed think Britain is losing its identity, while 72 per cent believe current levels of immigration are making community relations more difficult.
The poll comes a week after the Yorkshire Post revealed more than 35,860 immigrants had been given national insurance numbers to work in the region in 12 months, with the largest number coming from Poland.
The YouGov poll found only 24 per cent agree the recent arrival of immigrants from Eastern Europe has helped Britain's economy to grow.
Although most people (58 per cent) believe many immigrants have contributed positively to the quality of life in Britain, 57 per cent said immigrants keep wages low and make it harder for Britain's unemployed and unskilled to find work.
An overwhelming 89 per cent said Britain should be able to control who comes in from new EU member states, including Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary.
Seventy two per cent said a referendum should be held to scrap the principle of free movement and restore Britain's control of its own borders.
The Government was criticised for not listening to people on the issue of immigration by 66 per cent of people and just one per cent believe the Government's statistics on immigration from eastern European countries are accurate and tell the full story.
Just 16 per cent believe the Conservatives are listening to people on immigration. Sixty two per cent said they would like the Tories to take a tougher stance on the issue.
John Yates, director of Speakout, which is backed by Yorkshire business tycoon Paul Sykes, said: "The politicians told us that between 5,000 and 13,000 immigrants would come.
"The Yorkshire Post, to its great credit, revealed last week that 35,000 had signed up to work in this county alone – and that figure doesn't include the many thousands who have not bothered to register, who are working in the black economy or just claiming benefits."
He added: "John Reid says he is getting tough on immigration, but the truth is there is nothing that the Home Secretary can do to stop people from the former communist bloc countries coming to Britain.
"We have handed over control of our borders to Brussels and are paying the price. It is time the politicians gave the people a referendum on returning these powers from Brussels to Britain."
Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said politicians now needed to wake up to the reality of immigration.
"It shows the strength of feeling that is out there," he said. "For lots of people this is of overriding importance because of the impact it has had on social cohesion.
"It has had an impact on public services, on housing, education, and we are having to build more schools as a result. This survey should be an absolute wake-up call to politicians."
Patrick Mercer, Shadow Home Office Minister and MP for Newark and Retford, said: "If you talk to both Britons and immigrants they all express great concerns about the level of immigration and the level of control you have to impose on immigration in the future.
"We must have quotas and on top of that we must have effective border controls."
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