In a survey published last week of more than 20,000 people, 60% believe that immigration brings more disadvantages to the UK than advantages, with just one in six people thinking that immigration is a good thing for Britain overall. Immigrants from around the world can bring a host of skills, expertise and fill gaps in the UK labour market making our economy stronger, and our country a more prosperous place. However, since 1997, the whole concept of a reasonable, fair and controlled stance on the topic of immigration has been thrown out the window; instead successive governments have decided to pursue a policy of mass, uncontrolled immigration from the whole of Eastern Europe where we don't get a say as to who enters our country.
Immigration isn't bad for the UK, but pursuing an open door uncontrolled immigration policy, which we must follow as members of the European Union, is.
Within the last fifteen years immigration has soared, so much so that even my own party, Ukip, underestimated the true effect. We were saying that within the last decade three million people had entered this country but we hold our hands up, we got it wrong. When census figures were released earlier this year the actual figure was closer to four million people. When we include illegal immigrants, the figure rises to almost five million. Our country was used to seeing between 30,000 and 50,000 people enter this country every single year. This is sustainable; this is what is good for Britain. However, since Labour gained power in 1997 the figure has been closer to half a million. We have seen more immigrants enter our country in this time span than all governments combined since the Battle of Hastings in 1066. We have to ask ourselves this, how can that possibly be sustainable? Our schools, hospitals, housing and public transport are all seeing greater pressure than ever before, and when we open the door to Bulgaria and Romania from 1 January next year the pressure could increase further.
As a son of a plasterer and from a family who run a small business within the construction industry, I have seen the effects on the unskilled labour market that an open door policy can have. Wages are being driven down and more British workers are being pushed out of the trade altogether; they simply cannot compete with those who are prepared to work for so much less. This immigration policy we pursue also affects the youth in our society; those who don't want to be pushed through university as part of Blair's 50% target, who are good with their hands, and want to learn a trade. There just isn't the incentive for those at the very top of businesses to take on young school leavers whilst they can get cheaper foreign labour elsewhere; leaving many of our kids in the dustbin of history and unable to fulfil their dreams and aspirations in life.
We in Ukip aren't anti-immigration, we are pro-controlled immigration. There's a massive difference. We want to see a policy which many countries pursue, countries as diverse as Antigua or Australia, where, if you have the skills and experience that are vital to the economy, don't have a criminal record or life threatening disease, then you are welcomed with open arms. This is good, sensible, controlled immigration. This is why I totally disagree with the 60% that believe immigration, as a whole, brings more negative than positive affects to Britain.