On 25th March 2013 David Cameron made an important speech on immigration in Suffolk. He said:
“Immigration has to be properly controlled. Net migration needs to be brought down radically from hundreds of thousands a year, to just tens of thousands”. He reported good progress in curbing non EU migration and went on ” Now what we need is to work across government so that our immigration policy is factored into our benefits system, our health system and our housing system”. He wanted to stop Britain being a “soft touch”.
Yesterday he had to report disappointment in hitting the targets, explaining that continued recession and poor economic performance on the continent was pushing more and more people to the UK to find work. Yesterday he announced further measures to curb new migrants access to benefits and housing for the first four years after their arrival. He said
“I want to get net migration back to the tens of thousands which it was in the 1990s. This is not some sort of outlandish unachievable pledge”. “It is not wrong to express concerns about the scale of people coming into the country. It boils down to one word. Control”. In the 30 years to 2004 net migration totalled 1 million. In the next 7 years there were an additional 1.5m people from migration.
Both the 2013 and the 2014 speech shows he fully understands the level of public concern, and shares the worries about how we provide sufficient healthcare, housing, welfare and other public services for all the people currently coming.
The main things he now wishes to do to control numbers is to require people to be here four years before getting any tax credits, child benefit or access to social housing. He also wishes to stop people claiming child benefits for children not living in the UK.
Do you agree with his aim of controlled migration in the tens of thousands? Do you think these new measures will do the job?