Immigration set to miss Tory target

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Published: Thursday 27th November 2014 by The News Editor

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The latest immigration figures are set to be published today after the Home Secretary gave the clearest signal yet that the Government has conceded defeat in hitting its target of bringing net migration down to tens of thousands by the next election.

Theresa May said on Sunday that flows from the EU had disrupted efforts to reduced the net annual figure below 100,000 and it was “unlikely” the target would be reached by the end of the parliament.

The Office for National Statistics will publish net migration figures for the year to June later this morning.

Meanwhile, think-tank British Future said the Government’s “slippery” response to taking responsibility for its missed net migration target had fuelled public mistrust on immigration after a poll showed less than a third – or 27% – of people trust the Home Secretary when she talks about immigration.

The last set of figures – published at the end of August – showed overall net migration rose to 243,000 in the year to March, up from 175,000 the previous year.

Immigration increased 13% from 492,000 in the previous year to 560,000, the number of people leaving the UK remained stable at 316,000, the ONS said.

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future – which commissioned ICM to conduct the poll on trust and immigration, said: ” If you’ve missed a big target, you’ve got to own up to it.

“What’s felt slippery to people has been the Government’s evasiveness, seeking to downgrade a manifesto pledge to a ‘comment’ or insisting that the numbers would turn round when everyone could see they wouldn’t.”

David Cameron is said to be considering a pledge to bar new EU arrivals from claiming benefits for two years as he struggles to counter the electoral threat from Ukip.

About 250,000 are thought to receive the income top-ups, costing the Government around £1.6 billion a year.

Mr Cameron has called for reforms to EU free movement, but this has been met with concern and criticism by European counterparts.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has made clear she regards the principle of free movement of labour within the European Union as non-negotiable and is reported to have warned the Prime Minister that his drive is pushing Britain towards ”a point of no return” on the road to exit from Europe.

Published: Thursday 27th November 2014 by The News Editor

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