The Government’s report into the economic impact of immigration has been causing lots of media waves. The report suggests that immigrant workers – which now account for a staggering 12.5% of the workforce – contributed £6bn to Britain’s economic growth in 2006. MigrationWatch has responded by saying that, according to research by Professor David Coleman, immigration places £8.8bn of costs onto the taxpayer.
Professor Coleman’s research is summarised by the Daily Mail in the graphic on the right (click it to enlarge it).
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis has attacked the Government’s report and, despite the Prime Minister’s talk of ‘British jobs for British workers’, questioned what Labour is actually doing for young, unemployed Britons: "What will they do for the million economically inactive under 25’s in the country?” Youth joblessness has actually risen from 14.1% when Labour came to power to 14.5% today.
55% of Tory members recently told ConservativeHome.com that they would like David Cameron to talk about immigration more. Only 5% think there should be less focus. A press release from conservatives.com argues, however, that the party has been far from silent on immigration policy since David Cameron became leader:
- In August 2006 Damian Green urged the Government to impose strict limits on the numbers of workers able to enter Britain from new EU states.
- In November 2006 the party announced a commitment to a strict, annual limit on immigration from outside of the EU.
- In January 2007 David Cameron pledged the party to sign up to the European Convention against trafficking in human beings.
- A month later former Met Chief John Stevens agreed to run a Tory taskforce on a uniformed, border police force.
- In August Damian Green announced measures to tackle forced marriage.
- At the Blackpool Party Conference David Davis promised that net immigration will be ‘substantially lower’ than the current 190,000 a year.
Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green has written about the grand sweep of Conservative immigration policy for Platform10. He insists that it is not a right-wing issue but one that matters to all British people and that the Conservative position is consistent with the party’s one nation tradition:
"This vision of controlled immigration, and enhanced integration, is supported by British people of all ethnic groups and economic backgrounds, and indeed all political views. It is a core issue for the whole British people, not just members of the Conservative Party. A firm immigration policy is an important way of contributing to better community cohesion in this country."