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Immigration is a major concern for Asian voters

PUBLISHED: 17:44 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010

A SURVEY of the traditionally Labour supporting Asian community has revealed fears over increased immigration are turning people away from the Government. The Asian Welfare Society s poll of 250 people within its community in Gravesend, found that while

A SURVEY of the traditionally Labour supporting Asian community has revealed fears over increased immigration are turning people away from the Government.

The Asian Welfare Society's poll of 250 people within its community in Gravesend, found that while Labour still enjoys a slender lead of 41 per cent, more people are turning to the Conservatives (31 per cent) and Liberal Democrats (11 per cent).

Brian Sangha, the secretary for the society, said the main concern was immigration control.

"It surprised us, an immigrant population concerned about immigration. I think the issue is a lot of Asians arrived and worked hard to establish themselves in the community.

"Now we have this second wave, mostly from new EU countries and we are seeing an imbalance which threatens their security. I think there is a real fear that the tensions created will spill over and they will be the targets."

Gravesham boasts a strong Asian community of around 10,000 residents, making up approximately 10 per cent of the population

Asian Welfare Society approached a cross section of the community from April 9 to 11, speaking to people of all ages, finding that the older generation remain largely loyal to Labour while it is more split amongst young Asians voters.

The survey also found Asian women had a wider distribution of voting intentions across the main political parties.

"The level of interest was perhaps a little surprising. We weren't sure if members of the Asian community had really become engaged with some of the national policies but found the right across the population people were interested in a certain area or issue," said Mr Sangha.

He pointed to a change in the family set up, with the traditional extended family becoming fragmented into nucleus families of young married Asians who exercised more independence in their voting.

"This is something we have noticed in the past 18 months so it was interesting to see it in the way people will be voting," he added.

Don't lose your vote

PARLIAMENT has been dissolved and the candidates are out canvassing for support, but residents must also be sure when May 6 arrives they are able to have their say.

All UK citizens, aged 18 and over, as well as members of Commonwealth states living in a constituency are entitled to vote, but must register with their local authority before April 20.

Anyone unsure about whether they are registered should call Gravesham Borough Council on 01474 564 422 and request a form to be sent to their address.

This must be completed and returned before 5pm on Tuesday.

All registered voters are eligible to the postal vote but again must inform the council by 5pm on Tuesday by filling out, signing and returning a form which can be requested from the council.

If you chose to use a polling station, the council will be sending polling cards to every voter in the next week with details of your nearest station.

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