Immigration cuts: Londoners and Scots 'more opposed'

People shopping in a London street London: Most diverse and least likely to want cuts to immigration

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People in London and Scotland are less likely than those in other parts of the country to support cuts to immigration, a survey suggests.

The study by Oxford University's Migration Observatory also suggests that Scots are the most likely to want more immigration.

People in the Midlands and Wales appeared to be most supportive of cuts to immigration.

The government wants to cut net migration to tens of thousands.

However, experts say this will be hard to achieve.

Ipsos Mori surveyed 1,000 people on their attitudes to immigration for the Migration Observatory.

The survey suggests there is a majority in almost all areas of the UK in favour of cuts to immigration.

However, respondents in London, the most densely populated and diverse area of the country, were the least likely to support cuts.

Some 46% of Londoners said they wanted less immigration while a third said it should remain at current levels. Approximately 8% of Londoners said they wanted to see more.

Almost a third of people who live in the capital were born abroad. But the Migration Observatory said the survey found that white British Londoners were less likely to support immigration cuts than white Britons elsewhere.

Net migration figures 2010

  • Immigrants: 591,000
  • Emigrants: 339,000
  • Net: 252,000
  • Provisional data for March 2011 shows net falling to 245,000

The survey suggests that in Scotland, the least densely populated mainland area, there was a majority in favour of cuts - but also 20% who wanted a lot more immigration.

The researchers said that because of the way the survey was constructed, the number of Scots who supported a lot more immigration could in theory fall between 11% and 29%.

But even at the lower end of that scale, there was still far more Scots in favour of more immigration than other parts of the UK.

Dr Scott Blinder of the Migration Observatory said: "London and Scotland have lower levels of opposition to immigration than the Midlands and Wales, but this doesn't seem to be clearly related to the number of migrants in any of these places."

In October, the university released other data from the survey suggesting that a majority of people were concerned about categories of migrants that it was most difficult for the government to reduce.

Dr Blinder said the complex results meant it was not a "straightforward slam-dunk" that public attitudes would significantly change if the government hit its targets.

The coalition has pledged to cut net migration from the current level to "tens of thousands" by the end of the Parliament. Official figures show that annual net migration to the UK in 2010 was 252,000 - the highest calendar year figure on record.

Ipsos Mori surveyed 1,002 people between 2 and 8 September for the Oxford study. Approximately 11% of those sampled were born abroad, with British citizens who were born abroad amounting to 5%.

A graph showing differing levels of support and opposition to immigration in the UK

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  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    I wonder who they actually asked in Scotland. I am Scottish and I recognise that there has to be a limit on the number of immigrants in the country. I like having green space which will disappear to provide hospitals, schools and houses for the increasing population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    I can appreciate the contributions made by generations of immigrants over the years to this country; however, even some of those same immigrants also want restrictions on the numbers coming to the U K.
    A population of over 70 million in a few years time?
    No thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Part of Scotland's willingness, if I can be serious for a minute, is that it wasn't adversely affected by previous immigration calls, with fewer choosing to live in Scotland. Added to that is the greater wanderlust inbred into many Scots, engendering feelings of reciprocation - if I want to be welcomed abroad I'll welcome others here. But mostly it's that Scottish birth-rates are low.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    Let's face it. If we didn't have people coming here most of the service industry, office cleaning, catering industry would have trouble finding staff. Unfortunately many immigrants, not all, are stuck in low paid jobs. My local leisure centre has cancelled swimming lessons for children because 'they can't find staff willing to work on a Sunday'. Strange when there is so much unemployment about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Interpreting a survey like this is very difficult. 1000 people are not 1000 people is not representative of 65 million and you can't make regional generalisations based on what would be even smaller numbers. I'm from the midlands, most parts are multi ethnic and happy like this, others less so - it depends which area was sample . The same for London. a poor article which says nothing of the UK


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