Tories to steer clear of Labour’s open-door policy
13th April 2010: Even as Prime Minister Gordon Brown has refused to succumb to pressure and announce populist measure of putting a cap on the inflow of foreigners, David Cameron is expected to announce plans to cut annual immigration by 80 per cent, if the Tories win the general election.
With this, the Conservative leader has made it clear that the party wants to steer clear of Labour’s open-door policy.
If the Tories are allowed to have their way, the move will cut down the net arrival of newcomers to under 40,000 a year, which is a fifth of the current level.
The policy is being delineated in the 130-page Tory manifesto “An Invitation to Government”.
As the party is insisting its leadership is taking into consideration the deep concern about flood of immigrants under Labour, the Tories may soon find themselves in line of fire for playing the race card in the election campaign.
The assertion comes at a time when the benefits of migration to the UK’s economy are an open secret.
Only recently an official document had suggested migration has not only enhanced economic growth, but has general benefits as well; and a new policy framework is needed to maximize the contribution of migration to the Government’s wider social aims.
The paper suggested migration would enhance economic growth. Any attempts to halt or reverse it could be economically damaging. The paper, written in 2000 when immigration began to increase dramatically, said controls were contrary to policy objectives and could lead to social exclusion.
Official figures suggest more than 518,000 people moved to the UK last year. On an average, it comes out to be more than 1,400 a day.
The figures also suggest the annual number of people granted British citizenship has also registered an increase by almost 60 per cent between 2008 and 2009.
As of now the opinion on Britain benefiting from multiculturalism is gaining credence. Only recently, former Downing Street adviser Andrew Neather had claimed mass migration was encouraged by Labour ministers over the past decade to make the UK truly multicultural, and plug in the gaps in the labour market. He had asserted the policy has made London a more attractive and diverse place.
The Conservatives’ election manifesto announcing a cut on immigration is expected to be followed by Liberal Democrats’ manifesto.
The announcements by the Conservatives are expected to come a day after Gordon Brown said all migrant workers applying for public sector jobs will be compelled to pass an English language test.
Migrant workers looking for work in the public sector as nurses, community support officers, social workers and call centre staff would have to clear the English language tests.