Councils need an extra £250m a year to deal with impact of migration on public services, a report published by the Local Government Association said today.
It called for a contingency fund to be given to areas experiencing rapid population change and an overhaul of the system for measuring migration.
While the report recognised the significant benefits migrants brought to the economy, it said services in some parts of the country were coming under strain including housing, translation and interpretation and children’s services. Money was also needed for work to prevent racial and cultural tension and health.
The report by the Institute of Community Cohesion cited pressures on child protection services as a particular concern including costs linked to the care of unaccompanied children.
Sir Simon Milton, chairman of the LGA said: ‘The report clearly demonstrates that migration is benefiting the country, generating in total over £40bn every year. The evidence shows that industries such as fruit picking and residential care would risk collapse without migrant labour.
“The problem is that the money that is being generated isn’t necessarily finding its way back down to the local level. Official statistics on how many migrants are coming and where they are going are inadequate. No-one has a real grasp of where or for how long migrants are settling so much needed funding for local services isn’t getting to the right places.”