Key services and jobs in Hackney could be under threat

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington - Credit: Archant

Stark warnings have been issued about a government proposal which could “rip the heart from communities” in Hackney and “cripple vital services”.

The government is being urged to rethink new Home Office policy which would mean non-EU migrants having to earn more than £35,000 to stay in the country.

Overseas workers who have lived in the UK for five years that fail to prove being paid this minimum threshold will face deportation.

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, believes the new minimum threshold figure is “completely unrealisitc”.

She said: “This proposal is ill-considered, destructive and discriminatory. The figure is completely unrealistic – £35,000 is far higher than the average UK wage.

“It has the potential to rip the heart from communities like Hackney and cripple vital services – impacting countless health, charity, education and police workers, for a start.”

With teaching being one profession set to be particularly affected, concerns have been raised about the damage it could do in areas like Hackney.

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Jamie Duff, president of the Hackney Teachers Association, said: “In inner city boroughs like Hackney it is becoming increasingly hard to recruit teachers especially in certain subjects.

“It is becoming even harder to retain teachers as many are leaving the profession due to over work, unaffordable housing and reductions in their pay.

“It makes no sense at all to introduce a policy that could potentially reduce the number of teachers further.

“It could potentially be very damaging to the education of children and young people in the borough if experienced and talented teachers were asked to leave the country or refused entry on the basis of a pay threshold.”

Nurses will be exempt from the new rules after the government feared for the widespread shortages of workers in the NHS.

An online petition opposing the plans has already soared past 70,000 signatures and is more than halfway to securing a possible debate in parliament.

Ms Abbott believes that the new policy which is set to come into affect in April demonstrates how out of touch the current government is.

She added: “When we should be investing in growing and diversifying our economy, this policy creates another barrier for those striving to contribute, and wastes invaluable talent and potential.

“It shows just how out of touch the Government is - and myself and my Labour colleagues will certainly be doing all we can to challenge it.”