Immigration pledge scrapped

home office 22 September 2014
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced that the coalition government’s target to reduce annual net migration to below 100,000 has been quietly dropped.
Clegg commented that the Conservatives had been "fixated" on meeting this "unrealistic" target, making it more difficult to address the problems in the UK's immigration system.
David Cameron first committed to reducing net migration to "tens of thousands" in January 2010, when he was the leader of the opposition. At the time, the net migration level in the UK was over 250,000 per year.
However, allying with the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government meant this policy was never adopted. Clegg commented: "I made sure the -tens of thousands- pledge wasn't in the Coalition Agreement because it's unrealistic; because it's based on a fallacy: if a million Brits leave and a million migrants come you get net migration of zero - does that mean you’ve done the job?"
Clegg has made these comments in an effort to distinguish Conservative, coalition and Lib Dem policies, with a view to the general election in 2015.
However, Grant Shapps MP (chairman of the Conservative Party) has criticised Clegg's comments, saying: "The surprising thing about it is that he has never raised any of these concerns that I am aware of privately over the last few years. What's more, he has actively blocked several of the common sense straightforward assessments... he's stood in the way of those things happening - for example blocked our calls to rein in EU migration."
Despite several efforts to reduce net migration, the coalition government has had conflicting results. It had some success in 2013, when net migration fell to just over 150,000 annually. However, statistics from March 2014 show that the year-on-year figure had increased to 212,000: almost the same as in 2010.
Undoubtedly, immigration will be one of the key manifesto topics in the 2015 general election, particularly considering UKIP's success in the European elections in May this year. The quiet scrapping of the pledge to reduce net migration to such low levels shows the importance of immigration targets being fair, transparent and, above all, realistic.

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