UK immigration opposition falls with awareness of benefits

11 Jun 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Opposition to UK immigration falls when people are made aware of the economic benefits of migrants, recent research has indicated.

Conducted by YouGov, the poll found that 63 per cent of people polled viewed immigration negatively when initially questioned. However, this fell to 54 per cent after those polled were told that the government's financial watchdog believes that economic growth will come with higher levels of immigration.

In addition to a drop in the percentage of people holding a negative viewpoint, the percentage of people holding a positive view on net migration increased after being told the facts about the positive impact of immigration from 32 per cent to 39 per cent. Furthermore, the number of people who wanted to put an end to all immigration fell from 16 per cent to 12 per cent.

The figures that were put forward to change people's minds came from the Office for Budget Responsibility. The state that if net migration was to be stopped, public sector net debt would be £18 billion higher in five years time than if immigration continues. Fast forward 50 years and debt would soar from 74 per cent of GDP to 187 per cent.

Former MP and Labour immigration minister and chair of campaign group Migration Matters, Barabara Roche, commented on the findings: "Those opposed to immigration ignore what for them is an inconvenient truth. It's not that we cannot afford more immigration, rather that we cannot afford not to have immigration.

"These polling figures show that when the full facts of migration are presented to the British people, they begin to recognise that simple truth. The challenge politicians of all parties face is presenting the facts about immigration in a way the public can trust and understand".