Why has Rochdale been placed on the front line of Europe’s growing migrant crisis?
Simon Danczuk MP
The statistics, provided by the Home Office, showed that Rochdale provided accommodation for 957 asylum seekers in the first three months of this year.
This number, the highest among the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, is more than the whole of the South East of England combined.
Rochdale, which has a population of a little over 200,000, was ranked fifth in the country taking in the greatest number of asylum seekers - just behind major cities Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff.
By contrast, Maidenhead, which lies within the constituency of Home Secretary Theresa May, provides support to just four people seeking asylum.
West Oxfordshire, home to Prime Minister David Cameron’s Witney constituency, has not housed a single asylum seeker since 2008.
Mr Danczuk has called for the increasing number of migrants fleeing conflict and hardships in the Middle East and Africa to be distributed more evenly throughout the UK.
The Labour MP also urged the government to take a tougher stance on illegal immigration.
He said: “The world may be watching the chaos in Calais. But make no mistake, it is Rochdale that is on the front line of the growing migration crisis.
“Our town is up there with some of the country’s biggest cities when it comes to taking in displaced people.
“This disproportionately high number of asylum seekers puts pressure on public services at a time when Rochdale has been hit by major government cuts.
“It is not reasonable to expect our schools and doctor’s surgeries to cope with this increased demand, which also puts a strain on housing and damages community cohesion.
“Meanwhile those areas represented by the Prime Minister and Home Secretary are not doing their fair share to help these vulnerable people.
“The government needs to get its act together and stop illegal immigrants entering the UK and remove those who should not be here by returning them to their country of origin as soon as possible.”