WE CONTINUE with Victoria Gillick's report into the effects of immigration on Wisbech.
Once again, I neither endorse or refute Mrs Gillick's personal conclusions, and the statistics have all been gathered through Freedom Of Information Requests.
Although it has not always been possible to separate the two, factual statistics are usually in blue font, while personal views are in light grey.
How many migrant children are we talking about here? Local birth statistics give a clue. Most expectant mums in and around Wisbech give birth at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Between 2000-05 the average number of births at the hospital was 1,961 per year. In the five years since then the average has been 2,315. The numbers born in 2012 were 2,534.19
As noted, the baby-slump in the 1970s and '80s has led nowadays to significantly fewer local men and women aged 25-35, and consequently to fewer babies as well. Between 2006-12, births to British women living in this neck of the woods fell 5%, but rose 85% to non-British mothers: from 257 to almost 500 a year. Today, over one-fifth of local newborns have foreign mothers.
On a sadder note, there has also been a big increase in abortions at the Lynn Hospital. In the countries of the former Soviet Union, disposing of unwanted babies has been a commonplace fact of life for most of the Twentieth century. Some East Europeans may well have carried this throw-away culture with them to Britain. Up until 2005 an average of around 280 pregnancy terminations took place annually in King's Lynn, rising to an average of over 460 a year by 2012.
An even clearer insight into Wisbech's dramatic baby-bounce can be seen in the Town's pre-school population. In 2001 the number of kiddies aged 0-4 yrs was 1,692, and by 2012 it was 2,462.
Since 2006 the same ethnic shift has also occurred at Secondary level, with 24% fewer English children attending the Thomas Clarkson Academy, and a ten-fold rise in foreign ones, who now represent almost a quarter of the students. Nineteen different languages are currently spoken there.