A community campaigner says South Tyneside is a shining example of the ‘positive impact’ of immigration - after dismissing calls for restrictions to be placed on freedom of movement.
Lalon Amin, from Lawe Top, South Shields, says South Tyneside has reaped the rewards of opening its arms to other cultures as South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck expresses fears that imigration issues will become the focal point of the crunch EU referendum.
We are stronger for being in the European Union.Lalon Amin
Mrs Lewell-Buck says the country should not close its doors to people and trade - and Mr Amin says freedom of movement within European countries can be a benefit to all.
Mr Amin, 36, said: “More than one million Britons work within the EU.
“There is this perception that immigration is only to the benefit of Non-British people but freedom of movement is a benefit to everyone and has led to a lot of British people working all over Europe.
“Immigration has had a positive impact on the economy.”
Mr Amin, who is chair of the Refugee Aid Network, says South Shields’ Ocean Road shows can a fusion of cultures can help a local economy flourish.
“South Shields is an excellent example of how it can help a local economy.
“You only have to look at all the restaurants on Ocean Road.
“They are not only a tourist attraction and boost the economy but the business owners are paying taxees and bringing money into the community.”
Mr Amin believes Britain will be stronger by continuing to stand alongside its continental cousins, but believes a lack of credibility among leading political figures may be clouding the vital issues at stake.
“We are stronger for being in the European Union.
“I think the problem is the lack of credibility of many of the senior politicians on both sides.
“People don’t know if they can really believe the arguments that are being put forward.”