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Firms not people are true threat; VOICE OF THE.

THE issue that dominated this week's Rochester and Strood by-election was immigration.

Widespread concern at the number of people coming to this country is now recognised by all political parties.

But there is another sort of foreign involvement that is having a huge impact yet receives almost no attention. That is the way other countries are buying up British firms and property.

Ownership isn't visible in the same way that people from other nations are so there hasn't been a public outcry, despite the impact being increasingly devastating.

It is costing jobs and homes yet the buy-ups are spiralling and being encouraged by this government, building on the enthusiastic encouragement of previous administrations.

Rich foreigners have been snapping up offices and luxury houses in London for years. Now finance firms are buying properties that have been home to hundreds of families, with devastating consequences for them.

Typical of what is happening is the takeover of the New Era estate in East London by US fund managers Westbrook. It first tried to increase rents from PS600 a month to PS2,400 and now - as none of the residents can afford to pay - is evicting them.

Meanwhile foreign firms continue to take over British companies, promise they won't get rid of staff - and then fire many of them.

The latest is the Chinese owner of Weetabix, which is closing the Cheltenham factory which has been making the iconic cereal boxes for 50 years, while the Japanese owner of Branston is sacking 87 workers.

Local MPs protest at this callous wrecking of lives but still the Government encourages the selling off of Britain.

Almost every other country has restrictions or bans on foreign takeovers. Not Britain. We encourage this plundering of our national wealth, even pouring taxpayers' millions into overseas running of public services.

There should be at least as much public outrage at that as there is over immigration.

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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion; Leading articles
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 23, 2014
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