Migration minister James Brokenshire sought to direct attention away from the Home Office and towards the EU as official statistics showed the Tories’ staggering failure to reduce the influx of people into Britain.
Some 636,000 people entered the country to work, settle and live in the year ending March 2015, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, compared to 307,000 who left during the same period.
Migration into Britain increased from the previous year by 84,000, with those moving out the country falling by 9,000.
Net migration thus topped 330,000, up from 236,000 in the year ending March 2014 – and the highest amount on record.
In a statement to the press, Brokey called the “stark figures…deeply disappointing”, before attempting to direct attention to the EU:
“While these figures underline the challenges we need to meet to reduce net migration, they should also act as a further wake-up call for the EU.
“Current flows of people across Europe are on a scale we haven’t seen since the end of World War Two. This is not sustainable and risks the future economic development of other EU member states.”
Earlier this year home secretary Theresa May promised to reduce net migration into Britain to below 100,000, a somewhat smaller figure than current trends.
Despite Brokenshire’s protestations, most of the migration to Britain still comes from the EU, according to the ONS, with immigration from the EU at 269,000 (up 56,000 on 2014), whilst immigration from outside the EU now stands at 284,000 (up 23,000).
Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University described hitting the 100,000 target as “a distant prospect” with the current state of the economy and existing government polices, adding:
“Migration levels are currently comparable to what we saw in the mid-2000s after EU enlargement.
“What this means for the UK is subjective. There is no objective way to decide what the ‘right’ number of migrants is, and reasonable people will disagree.”
Official data also shows that 8.3m foreign-born lived in Britain by the end of 2014, or 13 percent of the population (though some have taken British citizenship). In 2004 only 5.3m foreign-born lived in Britain, or 9 percent of the population.
Amid all the excitement Ukip leader Nigel Farage added his two pence on Twitter:
These record migration figures reflect a Borderless Britain and the total impotence of the British government.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) August 27, 2015
Further data from the ONS on recent migration can be found in the group’s report.
Image Credit – Europe at night 2002 by Nasa, edited by the Right Dishonourable