Migration IS a strain on public services, say half of voters

Migration IS a strain on public services, say half of voters (and most think MPs lie about the issue)

  • Nearly all voters think that MPs lie about the issue of immigration
  • Just 15% feel the Government has managed immigration competently and fairly
  • Four out of ten were willing to keep the current EU free movement rules

Half of voters say immigration is straining public services, and nearly all of them think that MPs lie about the issue, a report reveals today.

Just 15 per cent of people feel the Government has managed immigration competently and fairly, while only 17 per cent trust them to tell the truth about immigration in Britain.

The paper, produced by a project called the National Conversation on Immigration, reveals a ‘shocking’ level of public mistrust over immigration.

Many of the 20,000 people polled were divided on the issue, believing that immigration brought positive benefits to the country, although they had concerns about pressure on public services.

 Half of voters say immigration is straining public services, and nearly all of them think that MPs lie about the issue, a report reveals today

Four out of ten were willing to keep the current EU free movement rules after Brexit if it meant a better deal for British business.

But a third – 33 per cent – of respondents felt the UK should not offer a preferential immigration deal to the EU, even if this limited the trade deal that Britain could strike.


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Among Leave voters, 53 per cent believe the UK should not offer a preferential immigration deal to the EU, even if business would lose out.

Just 16 per cent of Remain voters agreed. Most of those who were polled said they wanted EU migration to be better managed.

 Just 15 per cent of people feel the Government has managed immigration competently and fairly

A majority wanted changes to the rules, and were divided between bringing in caps or quotas for low-skilled migrant workers from the EU and introducing temporary visa regimes. The study was produced by think-tank British Future and anti-racism campaigners Hope Not Hate ahead of a report by the Migration Advisory Committee, to be released tomorrow.

Jill Rutter, director of strategy for British Future and co-author of the report, said: ‘The lack of trust we found in the Government to manage immigration is quite shocking.

‘Most people are pragmatic and have constructive ideas about the choices we face.

‘They want a system that manages the pressures to secure the gains of immigration – but right now they don’t trust the Government to deliver it.’

The ICM poll found that 65 per cent of the public say migrants bring valuable skills to the economy and public services such as the NHS, while 59 per cent believe diversity is good for British culture.

But 52 per cent said public services are under strain as a result of immigration.

The same number believe that migrants are willing to work for less money, putting jobs at risk and lowering wages. Some 61 per cent agree that ‘the Government’s performance on migration should be reviewed every year, through an annual migration day in Parliament which should involve consulting members of the public’.

People also wanted migrants to integrate, with 61 per cent agreeing with the statement: ‘It is better when migrants commit to stay in Britain, put down roots and integrate.’

The report calls for an annual ‘Migration Day’ in Parliament, where ministers are held accountable for their performances against a three-year immigration strategy – in place of the current net migration target.

It also suggests that the Government should start an official National Conversation on Immigration, run by the Migration Advisory Committee.

 

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