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19 Nov 2014

Immigration is important to Britain, but it has to be managed and controlled so the system is fair.

Britain has benefited from the ideas and talents of those who have come here from abroad over many centuries, but reform is needed to strengthen border controls, tackle exploitation and bring fairer rules if we are to remain an outward looking and diverse nation.

Too often debate about immigration has been polarised and unhealthy, with an arms race of rhetoric that exploits people’s fears and creates division on the one hand, and, on the other, some commentators and business advocates saying concern about immigration is irrational.

Instead of ramping up the rhetoric, we need a practical sensible debate on the reforms this country needs. Proposals to stop local workers and responsible businesses being undercut by unfair exploitation of migrants, as well as stronger border controls and enforcement are vital for a progressive approach. People need to have confidence that fair rules are being enforced; otherwise consent in the whole system is compromised.