Labour, Tories will not stop UK’s population hitting 70 million – report

Damian Green promises annual limit on immigration, if the Conservative party wins next general election

13th July 2009: The immigrants are here to stay. A research shows both Labour and the Tories will exercise restrain of sorts when it comes to reducing the number of immigrants.

The report by the population think-tank Migrationwatch says if the UK population is to be stopped from rising to 70 million, the annual influx of migrants has to be slashed by at least three-quarters. But both the parties, Labour and the Tories, will not go anywhere near that level of reduction. The findings also make a dent in the Tory pledge to introduce an annual limit on immigration.

Migrationwatch chairman Sir Andrew Green claimed the failure to address the issue would only increase the support for groups like the British National Party, which only recently registered a two-seat victory in the polls. 

Sir Green claimed the main parties talked tough on immigration, but were trying to "con" the British public. Quoting government figures, he said they could expect almost another 10 million people in England in 20 years time. Out of the total, seven million would be due to immigration.

Meanwhile, another research has come out with findings that two in three Britons want tougher immigration controls for bringing to a halt the "out-of-control population growth".

The findings come at a time when reports have already established that the migrants are needed to resolve long-term problems of skills shortages and an ageing society. The reports also indicate Britain’s recovery from the recession is likely to be hit by a fall in the number of immigrant workers. In fact, a group of economic forecasters hold that the reduction in their numbers threatens to create skills shortages and hold back the recovery.

The reports also suggest the impact of shortage of qualified staff will reflect itself not only on gross domestic product growth, but also threaten to obstruct efforts to rebalance the economy, with more manufacturing and less financial and other services.

But with the government’s inability to build up enough houses and further boost up the infrastructural facilities, up to three in four people said Labour’s open-door immigration policies have led to a lack of affordable housing, besides overcrowded trains and buses. It has also resulted in clogged roads and a strain on the environment.

Fifty per cent of those surveyed said escalation in the number of immigrants was ruining the fabric of life in Britain; and said their city, town or village would be better off with fewer people.

Seven in 10 believed current 61million population was already on the higher side; a whooping 69 per cent called for cuts in immigration.

Reacting to the development, Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green said the findings indicated public unhappiness at the pressure on public services, which was a direct result of the government’s long-term failure to control immigration.

Emphasizing on the need for an annual limit on immigration, he promised it would be introduced, if the Conservative party won the next general election.

In the YouGov poll, more than 2,000 people were talked to in May. The poll was commissioned by the environmental think-tank the "Optimum Population Trust". It was supported by natural history film-maker Sir David Attenborough.

The group believes the UK’s long-term sustainable population is only 30 million. The trust’s chairman Roger Martin said the message was "unmistakable". The government was presiding over a future, which most in the country did not want and would reject if they had the chance.

Immigration Minister Phil Woolas, on the other hand, said: "There are lies, damn lies, statistics and immigration statistics.

"Our new points-based system will help to ensure we will not meet the 70million figure.

"Our system ensures that only the people Britain needs come here to work and study and covers twice as many people as a cap would.

"In addition, we are legislating to break the link between coming here temporarily to work or study and staying here permanently."
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