Public 'Don't believe' Government on Immigration

January 30, 2007

The public overwhelmingly believe the Government has lost control of immigration and that they are not honest and open about its scale according to a new survey out today.

In the YouGov survey, for think tank Migrationwatch, only 4% of those polled thought the Government was in control of immigration while a massive 82% disagreed (57% strongly). (see full results)

Similarly, when asked if the Government was ‘open and honest’ about the scale of immigration into Britain, 80% disagreed (53% strongly).

‘The latest Home Office plan was entitled “Restoring Confidence.” These figures show that they have a mountain to climb – all the steeper because the public simply don’t believe what they are being told,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch. ‘After a decade of efforts to stifle debate, there is now a fundamental lack of trust between the Government and the public on this issue.’

Other responses in the survey show just how deep and broad are the public's concerns.

Some 68% agreed or strongly agreed that there are too many immigrants coming into the country and 63% either disagreed or strongly disagreed that ‘we need more immigrants to do the jobs that the British don’t want to do.’

The survey also shows that people are not convinced by the Government’s economic arguments as less than a third of those polled agreed (24%) or strongly agreed (7%) that immigrants are ‘of economic benefit to Britain.’

There was also a huge margin in favour of an annual limit to the numbers allowed to come to Britain each year. 83% agreed (63% strongly) with this proposal. Only 7% disagreed (2% strongly).

Some 78% questioned thought that anyone admitted for settlement should have to pass an English test.

There is also a strong belief that Britain is already overcrowded with 76% agreeing (49% strongly).

‘These figures illustrate that there is very strong support for a way forward involving a strict limit on numbers and an English language test before anyone is admitted for settlement.

‘They also reflect a deep underlying resentment among the public that they have not had any opportunity to express their views – still less to be consulted - on a matter of major importance to them and to the future of our country,’ said Sir Andrew.

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