UK net migration figure approaches 300,000

27 Feb 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The net migration figure for the UK has risen to 298,000, according to the latest set of statistics.

In the final data to be released before the general election, it became clear that the current government will not hit the Tories' target of reducing the figure to below 100,000. In fact, the figure is 50,000 above what it was when David Cameron took the position of Prime Minister.

An official spokesman declined to comment on the latest figures but confirmed that it was “going to be a challenge for the next parliament” to reduce immigration.

In defence of the current government Home Office Minister James Brokenshire said that net migration from within the EU, which has more than doubled since 2010, had meant that plans were “blown off course”.

He added: “We have also been constrained in government by Liberal Democrats who don't have that same aim and focus on reducing net migration.”

Unsurprisingly, Labour has jumped on the figures as a symbol of the Coalition's 'broken promises'. Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said that rather than focusing on net migration, the government should have paid more attention to strengthening border controls.

She added: "[Home Secretary] Theresa May's obsession with the target has led her to target valuable university students, who bring billions into Britain whilst doing nothing to make the labour market fairer for local workers, preventing undercutting by exploitative employers or putting in place proper border controls so we can count people in and out to enforce the rules.”

She claimed that a Labour government would bring in stronger border controls and more staff to enforce both border control and crackdowns on employers exploiting cheap migrant labour to “undercut wages and jobs”.