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Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales disputes BBC documentary

PUBLISHED: 09:57 25 May 2016 | UPDATED: 09:57 25 May 2016

Newham Council

Last night (Tues) the BBC broadcast a documentary claiming to look at how immigration and white flight is impacting the make-up of Newham’s population.

The hype ahead of the Last Whites of the East End would have made you think the borough was unwelcoming of the diverse community calling it home and that we have no community spirit.

This could not be any further from the truth. This borough has a proud tradition of embracing change, from the rebuilding of the East End following the Blitz, the closure of the docks in the 1980s to the Newham of today with major international firms setting up here and the hosting of major sporting events like the Olympics and Rugby World Cup.

Historically we have always had a transient population, but we have always welcomed those coming to our borough with open arms.

There were misleading claims that Newham’s white British population had halved between 2001 and 2011. Actually the Census shows that the borough’s white British population actually fell by about a third in that period – and is still Newham’s largest ethnic group.

But perhaps the wildest and most stunning claim was that mass immigration has left the borough at tipping point. This is a view of Newham I do not recognise and neither do most of our residents.

Our surveys show that nine out of 10 residents feel Newham is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together.

Every part of the country sees changes in their community over the years but we are committed to maintaining a strong and cohesive community based on fairness for all.

Newham is one of the most diverse boroughs in England and Wales and this is, and will remain, one of our greatest strengths. More from Sir Robin

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