Consumer, Media & Technology

Public demand urgent action to address immigration concerns – poll for Sky News

A Survation poll for Sky News this week has revealed the full extent of public concern over the issue of immigration. Two thirds (67%) of the general public think that the government’s current attempts to cap immigration are insufficient, and that drastic action is needed to reduce the level of net migration to the UK. Over half of people (52%) said they would be more likely to vote for a party that had a specific policy to significantly reduce the level of immigration.

Perceived Impact On Public Services

Rather than fears over job losses, the main concern shared by most people seemed by the potential impact of immigration on the welfare state; in particular there were concerns that schools (55%), the NHS (61%) and housing (65%) had all been negatively affected. “Drain on the welfare state” was the top response when people were asked what the top two negative contributions made by immigrants to the UK were, selected by 40% of respondents, whilst “taking away British jobs” was chosen by only 23%. Contributions to the tax system (27%) and cultural diversity (26%) were cited as the top two positive contributions, though 27% of respondents thought there had been no positive contributions at all.

Policy Announcements

People expressed support for policies such as the new minimum salary for bringing partners to the UK (supported by 63%), the mooted “visa bond” proposals (supported by 65%) and giving tax breaks to UK companies that employ young Britons rather than hiring immigrants from abroad (supported by 64%). The government’s controversial “go home or face arrest” vans were also broadly approved of, by 55% approving to 30% disapproving, though a significant number of respondents on both sides expressed very strongly worded views about the scheme when asked to describe it in one word.

Most Concerned Least Likely To Be In Contact

In general those who did not know any immigrants well were more likely to be concerned about immigration and more hostile to immigrants in the policies they supported. 71% of people who don’t know any immigrants well thought that drastic action to reduce immigration was needed, compared with only 58% who know immigrants through their friends, family, colleagues or children. Similarly urban dwellers, likely to have had more contact with immigrants, were less concerned with only 53% wanting drastic action, compared with 71% of people from the countryside.

Full data tables from the poll are available here. The Sky News coverage of the poll can be found on the Sky News website, with the lead article here.

Patrick Brione

Patrick Brione

Director of Research 2012-2016

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