‘Credit crunch’ provoked the Immigration Minister to announce limits on migration. 18 October 2008. Phil Woolas, Minister of State for borders and immigration, said the number of people coming into the UK would have to be cut because of the economic crisis.
The move to cap the population at 70million is aimed at stopping racial tension as the credit crunch hits families hard.
Immigration Minister Mr Woolas said rocketing levels of unemployment would spark resentment towards immigrants entering Britain who are handed jobs.
He said: “It’s been too easy to get into this country and it’s going to get harder.”
Mr Woolas’ tough stance is a dramatic U-turn for Labour. The Government currently imposes no immigration limit and operates a points system where migrants must show they have useful skills before entering the UK.
But Mr Woolas said: “If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny.
“In times of economic difficulties, racial stereotyping becomes stronger.
“If you’ve got skills shortages you should, as a Government, attempt to fill those shortages with the indigenous population.
“We need a tougher immigration policy and we need to stop seeing it as a dilemma.
“At some point we will be able to set a limit on migration.
“There has to be a balance between the numbers coming in and the number leaving.”