'Anti-British Ads' Could Target Immigrants From Romania And Bulgaria

'Please Don't Come To Britain'

An advertising campaign highlighting the pitfalls of life in the UK (such as the rain) could be used by the government to put off would-be immigrants, it has been suggested.

The measure is among ideas being considered by officials seeking ways to curb arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria. The temporary restrictions on immigrants from, the two newest EU member states expire in December.

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It's not clear what other aspects of life in Britain the government intends to advertise in order to put off potential immigrants, but no doubt there's a wide range of things to choose from, as Britain looks at the prospect of a triple-dip recession, record levels of youth unemployment and public cuts hitting health services and welfare.

Medical care on the NHS has come under criticism

It would certainly be ironic if the government was to capitalise on their perceived failures and advertise them abroad.

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Of course any adverts focussing on denigrating Britain on would also have to counteract the £500,000 spent on convincing people to come to Britain ahead of the Olympics.

The Great Britain campaign encouraged people to visit to our shores

The irony of the campaign was not lost at the time, with Church Action on Poverty bringing out their own version of the ad.

Anti-British adverts have appeared abroad before, though never pioneered by our own sceptred isle. In the wake of the BP oil spill, both New Orleans tourist board and Chrylser attempted to cash in on anti-British feeling.

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Why you shouldn't come to Britain

Other tongue-in-cheek portrayals of British culture abroad has included Eurostar's adverts in Belgium for trips to London showing a skinhead urinating into a teacup.

Come to London, where we have very few public toilets and even fewer shirts

Cameron's official spokesman declined to comment on reports of an advertising campaign to put off would-be migrants from Romania and Bulgaria coming to the UK.

The spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing: "As you would expect, the government is considering what options there may be and the process of looking into these and considering them is under way.

"The issue here is around dealing with potential damage to the UK labour market and potential scope for curbing immigration to that end.

"We are in the process of considering what we may be able to do. Clearly, there is a European legal framework within which we have to operate."

The spokesman declined to give an estimate of how many Romanians and Bulgarians may seek to come to the UK, after the previous Labour administration significantly under-estimated numbers coming from countries like Poland in the last decade.

Experience with Polish immigration showed "how difficult it can be to provide a robust numerical estimate", said the spokesman.

"The National Institute for Economic and Social Research has been commissioned to look at the potential impacts of Bulgarian and Romanian immigration to the UK."

The government is also looking at the potential to deport anyone who failed to find work within three months of arriving or to show they could support themselves for six months.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has admitted the influx would "cause problems" with services such as housing, with the highest numbers likely to pick London boroughs which already have significant populations from the countries.

However, he insisted it was not "reasonable" to assume that 300,000 would move to the UK - the figure suggested by some Tories based on migration levels after Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania acceded.

The government has confirmed it will not seek to extend temporary curbs on 29 million Romanian and Bulgarian nationals' right to live and work in Britain, which are due to expire in December.


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