January 30, 2014
Immigration is now the most important issue of concern to the British people, a poll has revealed.
It came joint top with the economy in an Ipsos MORI poll of the public’s priorities for the Government.
Strikingly, in a single year, the proportion identifying immigration in their top priorities to Ipsos MORI has nearly doubled.
In the same period, the number citing the economy as their main concern fell by 11 percentage points, as unemployment and growth have picked up.
The poll is a double-edged sword for David Cameron. He will be boosted by confirmation that worries over the economy are declining.
At the same time, it will embolden both his backbench opponents, who want much tougher action to reduce migrant numbers, and Ukip.
Earlier this week the Prime Minister was accused of complacency over immigration after he said the numbers arriving from Romania and Bulgaria were ‘reasonable’.
It later became clear that Mr Cameron has no idea how many are coming into the country because official figures will not be available until May.
The poll found that 41 per cent of those questioned raised immigration or race relations in their first two answers when asked: ‘What do you see as the most important issues facing Britain today?’ The economy was raised by the same proportion.
In the past 12 months, the number citing the economy has fallen by 11 points, from 52 per cent. Immigration, by contrast, has risen from 22 per cent to 41 per cent.
It is the first time since 2008 that immigration has come out on top, Ipsos MORI said. The economy has remained at the top since then.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘This is a most remarkable outcome. At last people feel free to give their true opinion about the impact of mass immigration on this country.’