Tory think tank urges Cameron to abandon net migration targets

07 Apr 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Prime Minister David Cameron has been advised to abandon his plans to continue to cut net migration by a Conservative think tank.

Bright Blue urged Mr Cameron to stop working towards migration limits and instead encourage the public to see the “benefits of immigration” and the areas in which it is in “the national interest”.

The think tank, which has been criticised for publishing negative viewpoints on Conservative party policy so close to the General Election, said that it was the duty of the centre-right to “shape a more positive and compelling vision on immigration”.

It added: “The Conservative Party is guilty of fixating in recent years on trying to appease a minority of voters who are attracted to UKIP’s prominent position on immigration, which is heavily negative about the impact of immigration, and wants to see net migration substantially reduced.”

UKIP's tough stance on immigration has largely been acknowledged as the catalyst for other political parties to take the view that immigration needs to be more tightly controlled. However, even as sentiment has swung, business leaders and think tanks, such as Bright Blue, have repeatedly noted that cutting immigration is not the best approach for the country nor the economy.

The latest net migration figures are close to the 300,000 mark, despite the fact that the Prime Minister pledged to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands” when he first came into government five years ago.