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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Will the new migration figures force the Tories to go one step further on free movement?

Where do migrants to the UK come from the EU or non EU?
David Cameron's hopes of getting back on the front foot on migration have been dealt a blow this morning - ONS figures show that immigration is up, and specifically immigration from the EU is up as well.

These figures are important for two reasons, firstly the timing - these figures come ahead of a much anticipated speech David Cameron is about to deliver on the whole subject. Secondly, the numbers when compared to two targets, firstly the Conservatives' 2010 manifesto migration target of "tens of thousands a year not hundreds of thousands." Secondly, the comparison to migration flows under Labour. Here are some of the headline figures:
  • Total net long-term migration estimated to be 260,000 in the year ending June 2014 up from 182,000 in the previous 12 months.
  • Total gross immigration of 583,000 in the year ending June 2014, a statistically significant increase from 502,000 in the previous 12 months.
  • EU immigration up 45,000 and non-EU up 30,000.
  • 32,000 Romanians and Bulgarians came to the UK up 11,000 and EU15 migration also up 10,000.
  • Estimated employment of EU nationals resident in the UK was 16% higher in July to September 2014 compared to the same quarter in 2013.
Interestingly, while immigration is also up from the new EU member states, the longer term trend driving EU migration is that from the EU15.

So how will all this play out? Well as you can see from the ONS graph below EU migration is not the largest component in total UK migration. That non-EU migration also went up for the first time in a while is politically significant.

However, EU migration is a large portion. The fact it is not showing any sign of decreasing will fuel trust issues over both the EU and migration.

Politically, perhaps the most significant aspect here is that net migration to the UK is now higher than when Labour left office (but lower than the peak during the Labour government). Ukip and some media are already jumping on this. Ahead of the speech, there’s one key question:

Has the Tory leadership already ‘priced in’ today’s figures, or has this made a cap of some sort more likely? 


Average Englishman said...

Dave's going to have trouble talking his way out of this one. He needs to talk to Tony B. Liar to get a few more tips.

A few changes in benefits rules are not going to stop this invasion (now are they OE? Be realistic) and the UK voter will not accept another fudge.

Denis Cooper said...

"However, EU migration is a large portion. The fact it is not showing any sign of decreasing will fuel trust issues over both the EU and migration."

Actually that need not be too great a concern, because there are now relatively few people in the UK who still believe anything that Cameron and his Tory colleagues say about anything, and least of all about the EU and immigration.

So your headline question could be answered as follows: these most recent immigration figures may or may not drive the Tories to talk about taking a harder line, but even if they do talk about it hardly anybody will be suckered into believing that they mean what they say or would actually do anything effective about it, and therefore there is really little potential electoral upside for the Tories in even talking about it.

Let's allow our minds go travel back to September 26th 2007 when Cameron was in opposition and he had a signed article in the Sun in which he berated Brown for destroying trust:

"The final reason we must have a vote is trust. Gordon Brown talks about “new” politics.

But there’s nothing “new” about breaking your promises to the British public. It’s classic Labour.

And it is the cancer that is eating away at trust in politics. Small wonder that so many people don’t believe a word politicians ever say if they break their promises so casually.

If you really want to signal you’re a break from the past, Prime Minister, do the right thing — give the people the referendum you promised.

Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.

No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum."

Seven years later and Cameron has repeatedly shown that he is just as untrustworthy as Brown, and many people have noticed that.

perdix said...

Cooper - you distort the truth to nbolster your prejudices.

christhai said...

Stop the talk about "Benefits" - it is a dangerous distraction.

FACE the problems of the NUMBERS.

Change the UN-Controlled Immigration into natural Controlled Immigration.

It is time to WELCOME people from anywhere in the World - provided - that they have the skills and backgrounds Britain wants and needs.

Denis Cooper said...

Really, perdix, and exactly which part of anything I've written is untrue? Your hero Cameron is just as much a liar and cheat and hypocrite as Brown, hard though that may be for you to accept.