IMMIGRATION is the “number one” concern for Castle Point residents, according to the borough’s MP.

Tory Rebecca Harris told a parliamentary debate it was the issue raised most during doorstep campaigning before this year’s election.

Castle Point is among the “whitest” boroughs in the UK, with 95 per cent of the population identifying themselves as white British.

Mrs Harris was speaking during a debate on new laws to clamp down on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers and landlords who do not check tenants immigration status.

She said: “My constituents are absolutely clear about the fact that they want us to control our borders, and that includes dealing with those who have already managed to evade our border controls.

“Mass immigration forces down wages and makes it more difficult for residents like mine to find work.

“However, illegal immigration is the major source of frustration and grievance for my residents.”

A recent profile of Castle Point, contained within a council agenda last month, stated average pay in the borough is £421.40 per week, well below the national average of £520.20.

The Immigration Bill, which was presented in the House of Commons last week, will require landlords to take swift action against those living in homes illegally.

Speaking in Parliament, Mrs Harris said: “In Castle Point we have a shortage of housing, a shortage of space for housing, and, most acutely, a serious shortage of affordable and private rental accommodation.

“Hard-working families must wait for accommodation, sometimes for months and months.

“They naturally feel that it is just plain wrong if even part of the reason for that is illegal workers taking up private rental properties.

“Creating a new offence for rogue landlords who fail to take steps to remove illegal migrants from their properties will be a strong reassurance to the public that we are doing all we can to deal with what they feel to be a genuine injustice.

“It will also be a good way to help better establish the true scale of illegal immigration.”