UK has one of largest Roma populations in Western Europe with 200,000 living here

Contradicts Government claims ‚relatively few‘ had set up home here
Most of the Roma citizens thought to have arrived in the last ten years
200,000 figure is four times 49,000 estimated four years ago in a report
Some 183,000 have set up home in England as well as 3,000 in Scotland

Britain has one of the largest Roma populations in Western Europe – with about 200,000 living here – says an authoritative report. The study contradicts Government claims that ‘relatively few Roma citizens’ had set up home in this country. Most are thought to have arrived in the last ten years. The 200,000 figure is four times the 49,000 estimated just four years ago in a report prepared for the Department of Children School and Families. Some 183,000 have set up home in England, with 3,000 in Scotland, 900 in Wales, and 500 in Northern Ireland. The findings come amid concerns about how many more migrants will arrive when restrictions on workers from Romania and Bulgaria are relaxed in January. It is claimed most of the migrants have arrived since a number of eastern European countries, including Slovakia and the Czech Republic, joined the European Union in 2004. The latest study, conducted by the University of Salford and seen by Channel 4 News, concluded the migrant Roma population in Britain was ‘significant’, increasing, and that 200,000 was almost certainly a ‘conservative estimate’. As well as London, Yorkshire, the North West and the Midlands are identified as areas where large numbers of Roma live. According to Channel 4 News, Sheffield has seen a big influx of Roma families over the last ten years. A decade ago, only one or two were living in the Page Hall area of the city. There are now several hundred families – with more arriving. Families of ten children are not uncommon. Miroslav Sandor, who works in a local advice centre in Sheffield for Roma people, came to the UK in 2004 when Slovakia joined the EU. He was drawn by the chance to send his children to school and college. He told the programme: ‘We came here for a better life, having a job, having education for my children.’ Miroslav ‘Bob’ Sandor, his son, said: ‘In Slovakia when you go to school they don’t let you go to college. If you Roma they just don’t care about you.’ Gulnaz Hussain, manager of an advice centre for migrants in Sheffield, said: ‘I don’t think we could accommodate more people arriving. I think it’s taken its toll in terms of numbers and houses that are available.’ When asked if Roma people had been welcomed, she responded: ‘There’s been some increased tension since their arrival.’ One of the local residents, Jane Howarth, who is not Roma but has taken it upon herself to organise street patrols around Page Hall, said she often saw ‘hoards of people, Roma, standing on street corners, drinking, eating, chucking all their rubbish’. Dr Philip Brown, one of the authors of the study, said: ‘A few years ago we didn’t really understand the number of migrant Roma in the UK.’ The Council of Europe estimates the population across the whole continent is somewhere above 11million – with 6million in the EU. Of those, around two million live in Romania. Spain has the largest Roma population in Western Europe, with 750,000, followed by France with 400,000.

Source: Daily Mail Online
Date: 30.10.2013