UK voters give immigration the thumbs down

A majority of British voters feel immigration is harming the UK according to a major new survey.

According to the new research, which was commissioned by the former Conservative party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft and polled 20,000 people, just one in six believed that immigration was a good thing for the country, while 60 per cent felt that there were more disadvantages than advantages to immigration.

UK Border Agency The main concern people have with the number of immigrants who move to the UK is the amount of pressure newcomers put on the benefits system and public services without putting anything into the economy. Some 77 per cent of those surveyed believed a dramatic reduction in immigration would benefit the economy.

However, writing in the introduction of the research paper, Lord Ashcroft revealed that the results of the report were more varied than the numbers may suggest. “Public opinion on immigration is more varied, and certainly more nuanced, than is sometimes suppose,” he wrote. “Those who take the most favourable view often regard opponents as backward-looking and fearful of change. Those who are most concerned think supporters of immigration are insulated from its more challenging consequences.

“One thing that unites people with different views about immigration is their conviction that politicians have handled it badly: whether because they are incompetent, fail to listen, are afraid to be accused of racism, or are too weak to set out the advantages of immigration in the face of public opposition.

“People’s concerns about immigration are part of a bigger set of anxieties. They see the pace of change continuing and even accelerating, and they know Britain in 20 years will look different from the Britain of today, let alone that of 20 years ago.”