Conservatives stand by migration target 'aim'

Conservatives stand by migration target 'aim'

The Conservatives have defended their pledge to cut net migration to "tens of thousands" after Labour said it would never be met.

Treasury Chief Secretary David Gauke told BBC Radio 4's Any Questions it was an "aim - it doesn't have a timetable".

But he said it would "drive policy" in terms of improving the skills of British workers.

It comes after ex-Chancellor George Osborne said the Tories "haven't a clue" how they will meet the target.

The pledge to reduce net annual migration - the difference in the number of people coming to the UK for a year or more and those leaving - to the tens of thousands was in the 2010 and 2015 Tory manifestos.


Neither Theresa May nor David Cameron has come close to meeting it as prime minister. The most recent figure was 273,000. The last year it was below 100,000 was 1997.

The party has not set a deadline for their target of slashing immigration but hopes to do it as quickly as possible, ministers say.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Tories had "for the third time put before the people unrealistic promises that they know will never be fulfilled".

He called for "fair, managed migration policy" with numbers to be decided based on what the economy needs and better training for UK workers.

The SNP's Tommy Sheppard said he did not think the government had any intention of meeting its net migration target.

"It's a dog whistle to UKIP voters who don't like immigration to vote Tory," he told the Any Questions audience.

Conservatives stand by migration target 'aim'



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