In a serious blow to Prime Minister David Cameron, new figures reveal that net migration has risen to a record 260,000 per year, leaving his pledge to cut immigration to the tens of thousands in tatters.
The data from the Office for National Statistics shows that migration figures were up by 78,000 year-on-year in the 12 months to the end of June. Much of this is from within the EU, with 45,000 extra European Union arrivals.
The figures mean that despite the government’s pledges, the rate of immigration has increased since it came to power in 2010, and makes it incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister to keep his promise of cutting the figure to less than 100,000 by May 2015.
One of the factors contributing to the rise is a spike in the number of immigrants coming in from Romania and Bulgaria, who were given full access to the UK job market at the start of the year.
Immigration has become a significant issue in British politics in recent years, with David Cameron promising to significantly reduce figures during the government’s term in office, a pledge that Home Secretary Theresa May last week admitted the government was unlikely keep.
The government is under increasing pressure to cut immigration from the insurgent UK Independence Party, who have seen a significant rise in popularity over the past few years and now have two Members of Parliament.
UKIP migration spokesman Steven Woolfe said: “This is a total failure by a Party who were elected on the promise of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands. Today’s astronomical migration figures show an abject failure by this Government to control immigration, despite countless promises to the public.
“The eye-watering increase places immense strain on employment prospects, schools, hospitals and housing. There is nothing Cameron can say or do now that can right this massive wrong.”