THE ‘COMPETITION FOR RESOURCES’ CLUSTER
e.g. Ashford, Luton, Walsall, Smethwick
Scattered across the England, particularly in places towards the east of the country and around London, ‘competition for resources’ describes places with rapidly growing populations combined with a lack of jobs or service access. This grouping includes the likes of Oldham, Dartford and Ipswich.
There are very few of these places in the North East or in Wales, the population growth in the ‘competition for resources’ settlements putting them in a fundamentally different category to some of the places in the earlier clusters.
Towns with ‘competition for resources’ are often fairly well-connected to economic hubs, but remain affordable places to live, hence newer waves of Eastern European migration settling there – often working in construction, distribution, hospitality or agriculture or food production.
Concerns about immigration will therefore centre more on whether there is enough to go round than on decline and loss (we have deliberately up-weighted economic anxiety). The presence of large East European communities potentially creates a more fertile territory for those looking to promote xenophobic narratives about immigration adding pressures to resources or displacing settled populations.
Enforcement policies can play a big role here – for example, the enforcement of the minimum wage or of landlord licencing schemes. Meanwhile, a focus on a shared ‘social contract’ of some sort is also important. This can sometimes be implemented via things like locally co-produced welcome packs or charters around the rights and responsibilities of local residents.