Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, August 27, 2015
The true scale of the immigration crisis facing this country was laid bare last night as damning figures revealed net migration had surged to a record 330,000–a rise of 40 per cent in one year.
It is a humiliating blow to David Cameron after his ‘no ifs, no buts’ pledge to reduce the number to ‘tens of thousands’.
Incredibly, yesterday’s figures do not include illegal immigrants in the UK, estimated at 1.1 million.
The devastating statistics came as thousands of migrants yesterday flooded across the Hungarian border into central Europe.
Many will now head to Calais to join those trying to sneak into Britain. In other developments:
- Britain’s foreign-born population has passed 8 million for the first time–meaning one person in every eight is from overseas; and a record 269,000 EU citizens arrived as our economy boomed.
- Net migration from outside the EU also increased significantly, rising to 196,000.
- The bodies of up to 50 refugees, including children, were found in a parked lorry in Austria near the Hungarian border.
- The number of Romanians and Bulgarians, who have been allowed full freedom of movement and access to work since January 2014, moving to the UK hit 53,000–almost double the 28,000 a year earlier.
- A migrant boy, aged just 13, was found wandering on the M5 yesterday after apparently spending days in the back of a lorry.
Former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth last night told Mr Cameron–who made his ‘no ifs, no buts’ pledge in 2010 and again before this year’s General Election–to get a grip on immigration or face the wrath of the electorate.
‘It cannot go on like this,’ he said. ‘We cannot cope with any more people–there are physical limits. Our public services are under strain, our infrastructure is under strain and our society is under strain.
‘The public gave us the benefit of the doubt on this at the election. This government, unconstrained by the Liberals, has now got to deal with this problem.
‘We have got to reduce the numbers coming from outside the EU, which we can do something about right now. But we have also, in the end, got to restrict the total free movement of people from the EU.’
The Office for National Statistics confirmed that in the year to March, a staggering 330,000 more people arrived in the UK than left–equivalent to a city the size of Coventry or Cardiff.
This was an increase of 94,000 on 12 months ago, and overtook the previous highest figure of 320,000 under Labour in 2005.
A total of 636,000 people moved to the UK from abroad in the past year–also a record high. Only 307,000 people departed.
Despite the catastrophic figures, neither Mr Cameron–who is on holiday in Cornwall–nor Home Secretary Theresa May spoke out.
Just last week a poll revealed that concern about mass immigration is at the highest level ever recorded.
For the first time, half the public believe controlling our borders is among the most important issues facing the country.
Immigration minister James Brokenshire said yesterday: ‘These stark figures are deeply disappointing.
‘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 the Second World War.
‘This is not sustainable and risks the future economic development of other EU member states. It reinforces the need for further reform at an EU level as well as within the UK.’
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of think-tank MigrationWatch, which campaigns for balanced migration, said: ‘Net migration at one-third of a million a year is clearly unsustainable.
‘This underlines the need for serious concessions in the forthcoming negotiations.’
Alongside the mass movement from Europe, the ONS noted an increase in net migration from outside the EU, up from 157,000 to 196,000 over the year.
The ONS said immigration from Romania and Bulgaria now makes up more than a fifth–22 per cent–of EU immigration.
In another development, European Commissioner Johannes Hahn said Brussels would within weeks propose a new attempt to force EU nations to take quotas of refugees making the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece–a move flatly opposed by the UK.