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  5. Sunak may deny immigration is 'out of control', but the ..


Sunak may deny immigration is 'out of control', but the public thinks otherwise

Rishi Sunak said this morning that the immigration figures are “too high” but many will feel that the prime minister has taken his this problem. Photo: Simon Dawson, 10 Downing Street

On any other day, one would expect the Home Secretary to announce a net migration of 606,000 people – not least when it is about three times the example promised Tories in their latest manifesto.

However, as Swella Braverman made headlines this week for all the wrong reasons, narrowly escaping an investigation into her handling of a speeding violation, she garnered attention with her absence from the air on Thursday.

Instead, the Home Office was given the power to issue a rather innocuous “spokesperson” statement that noted the “proud history of the UK in providing protection to those who truly need it through our safe and legal ways”. The 118,000 increase appears to have been blamed on people arriving from Ukraine and Hong Kong, as well as “an unprecedented increase in the number of dependents arriving with students.”

“We remain committed to reducing overall net migration, simultaneously stopping ships and ensuring control of our borders, prioritizing the fight against abuse and the prevention of dangerous and illegal crossings,” it says.

This is a far cry from the harsh rhetoric we're used to with Mrs Braverman, the daughter of immigrants, who made no secret of her preference for a “tens of thousands” cap after just announcing new restrictions on international students bringing relatives to the UK.

2605 student visa dependents

The Prime Minister, however, appeared unwilling to give a target figure on ITV's This Morning, after hosts Alison Hammond and Craig Doyle reported that immigration is “everyone is talking about”.

“The numbers are too high, it's so easy, and I want to lower them” was how far Sunak seemed willing to go.

“These things are not easy to do and it depends on the economy… the numbers I inherited were close to 500,000+ but I intend to bring those numbers down and the measures we have taken this week are significant.

But it is precisely his denial that immigration is “out of control” that many will find short-sighted.

As new statistics show net migration rose to a new record high, PM @RishiSunak agrees “the numbers are too high.” #ThisMorning

— This Morning (@thismorning) May 25, 2023

It seems that the Prime Minister was so focused on stopping ships after 45,000 people illegally crossed the English Channel last year that he distracted himself from legal migration and its impact on the already overburdened British infrastructure.

< p>While there will be some sympathy for the fact that numbers have increased due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's crackdown on free Hong Kong, voters were promised less, not more, post-Brexit immigration service.

As Professor Matthew Goodwin of the University of Kent points out, immigration has become a growing concern for the electorate, ranking third among voters' priorities after the economy and the National Health Service.

He argues: “The consistent and persistent failure of our leaders to deliver its promise, by lowering the overall numbers and building an economy that truly works for the British people, will not only ensure that the Conservatives lose the next general election, but will also plant a time bomb at the very heart of our politics and society. The only question is when it will explode and who or what will blow it up.

A study by People Polling backs up this claim, with a recent poll showing that 66% of Britons agree with the claim. “Great Britain is overpopulated”.

Six in ten are 'worried' about current population projections, with 69% believing that population growth is having a negative impact on housing affordability in the UK (only 5% think it's having a positive impact). Four in ten (41%) believe population growth is negatively affecting social cohesion, and 69% believe it is negatively impacting the National Health Service. 504,000, more than half (53%) of those surveyed in February said it was “too high”, just two% said it was “too low”, and 14% said it was “about right”.

So it's not surprising that ” Reform – the Tory's main rival on the right – has seized on the numbers to call for a “zero net immigration target” for the UK.

Noting that a net migration of 606,000 means “a city approaching the size of Birmingham is added to our population every two years,” party leader Richard Theis sent an email to his supporters denouncing the statistics as “a historic betrayal of our country.”< /p>

“Four Conservative prime ministers have pledged to cut immigration to 100,000 or less,” he added. “The Tories lied to us on a massive scale. They keep lying. The impact on our lifestyle will be huge. No one will trust them anymore.”

2605 pure migration

So while the prime minister may be tough on illegal immigration, telling This Morning, “If you come here illegally, I want it to be crystal clear that you won't be able to stay,” it quickly becomes apparent that the number of people coming here legitimately, potentially poses the greatest threat to his chances of a second term in 2024.

His Chancellor Jeremy Hunt argues for the economic benefits of mass migration, citing figures showing that in the last fiscal year, students have increased the economy by £41.9 billion.

But the public doesn't seem to notice. thus – regardless of the fact that many of those who come are the highly skilled Tier 2 workers promised by the government as part of its “global Britain” promise.

Immigration – both legal and illegal – has become a number game that our math-loving Prime Minister simply cannot afford to lose.

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