Ahead of the opening of borders to Rumanians and Bulgarians without restrictions from January, the Prime Minister has made a number of promises in a Financial Times article. Among other changes, he says that EU beggars and rough sleepers will be deported and refused readmission for a year unless they have a genuine reason to be here, such as a job.
Hats off to my colleague Councillor Nickie Aiken for lobbying so hard on this issue – including telling the PM himself in unmistakeably clear terms what residents were finding on their doorsteps and on the way to school as a result of mostly Rumanian rough sleeping.
Nickie and I met with Home Office officials the same day to discuss the problem – and it is not yet clear how the UK Borders Agency will make the deportations work. At last, though, the actual and potential impact of some of these individuals on our neighbourhoods is being recognised.