The number of immigrants making Northampton their home is falling, according to official census data.
The average number of the town’s residents per year who arrivedfrom abroad in 2010 and 2011 was 1,521. But the number who said they came here between 2007 and 2009 was an average of 2,094.
It continues the downward incoming trend since the peak period of 2004 and 2006, a time when several Eastern European countries joined the European Union.
However, compared with other towns and cities, Northampton is still among the areas with the highest proportion of incoming immigrants per year, being ranked 62nd out of 347.
Councillor Tony Clarke (Ind, Castle) said immigration was one of Britain’s – and Northampton’s – strengths and should be seen in a positive light. He said: “Many people think the worst of immigrants, but most come here to work hard and pay taxes.
“Throughout history we have been a culturally diverse country and we have to welcome immigrants’ contribution.”
Meanwhile, The Bishop of Brixworth, the Rt Rev John Holbrook, said the apparent 12 per cent fall in Christians revealed in the census, which was coupled with a 10 per cent rise in people with no religion, gave an unfair impression of the number of churchgoers in Northamptonshire.
Bishop John said: “Statistics can be misunderstood to give untrue or unfair impressions. Our experience is that people are as interested as ever in the faith dimension to life.”