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Shadow home secretary, the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe MP, yesterday visited Cliftonville near Margate in Kent to witness...
Shadow home secretary, the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe MP, yesterday visited Cliftonville near Margate in Kent to witness the effects of the dispersal of asylum seekers on the British tourism industry and listen to the concerns of local hoteliers. Commenting on her visit, Miss Widdecombe said:

'The concerns of local hoteliers have been brought to my attention by parliamentary colleagues, among them the local MP, Roger Gale, and by recent press reports. I am keen to hear today, the views of local people who fear that their livelihoods are under threat.

'Government proposals to disperse asylum seekers out of London and away from ports of entry into the UK need to better targeted. Hotels in our seaside towns like Margate and all along the south coast are the easy option and, as a consequence, are being over-used, regardless of the impact on tourism and the local population.

'Since coming to power, Labour have failed entirely to stand up for the interests of the tourism industry.

'Tourism is our fifth largest industry which provides 5% of GDP and contributes some 53 million pounds to the British economy each year.

'Hoteliers and restauranteurs are already suffering as a result of burdensome legislation like the minimum wage and working time directive imposed upon them by Labour. These policies are destroying the jobs of many thousands of people in British seaside resorts.

'It is imperative that British local authorities provide much needed support to asylum applicants seeking refugee status in the UK. Many of these people have been the victims of unspeakable acts of violence at the hands of tyrannical regimes like that of Milosevic in Kosovo.

'We are, however, greatly concerned that the means by which the Government has sought to disperse cases around the country, without due planning, have caused areas of concentration in and around our seaside towns.

'It is my aim to take these concerns back to Westminster and press Government ministers to urgently address this problem if a crisis in our domestic tourism industry.'

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