Author Archives: Elwyn Watkins

Asylum: Let’s look at the numbers

I thought that I would do a little bit of number crunching on the asylum seeker figures for 2014. I have given the link below. It needs a little bit of expertise to wade through the data, but I would be more than happy to help out if someone is interested.

Firstly, let’s be clear about the overall numbers. In 2014 just under 25 thousand people claimed asylum in the UK. In context this represents about 4% of people coming to our country. But actually the real number that should be used is the number of people who are granted asylum. Of the nearly 25,000 that claimed asylum in 2014 only 7,270 were granted asylum. Hence just over 1% of the immigrants to the UK in 2014 were people that we have granted asylum to.

Posted in Op-eds | 24 Comments

Reflections on Rotherham (1): How one community in Rochdale took control to protect its children and young people

Initially the report on Rotherham came as a shock to me – 1400 children raped and abused in one town. Then I read the report and the figures on an annual basis are very similar to those in my home town of Rochdale. But do I believe that things are any different in Oldham, Bolton or Sheffield? These are all similar towns with similar issues. I am clear that just because a town has not identified a problem does not mean that it does not exist.

Moreover, the one lesson that many council chief executives and leaders will have learnt from Rotherham is not to commission an independent report. The second QC’s independent report into child abuse in Rochdale has already been put on hold. For the local police, social services and councillors there is a real incentive to brush things under the carpet. This alone is sufficient to justify national government intervention and leadership. Separate but related to the child abuse situation is the record number of children being taken into care. Rochdale alone has 450 now in care.

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

Opinion: Is anyone listening?

Beethoven's Trumpet (With Ear) By John Baldessari, Saatchi Gallery - London.My perspective comes from being born and bred in Rochdale, part of the ‘urban North’. This is my community. I don’t have to conduct focus groups or opinion polls to know what people think. Partly because I am a ‘local lad’ and partly because of the by-election people are very happy to tell me directly. I always take this as a positive sign – if people want to have a go then they must be wanting to …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 34 Comments
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