Migration is a bigger worry than terrorism
By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:22am GMT 17/11/2006
Record immigration to Britain worries people more than terrorism or the state of the NHS, according to the Commission for Racial Equality.
The race relations watchdog said today that, for the first time in any major poll, immigration and the impact on race relations were even bigger concerns to people than education.
One in four people spontaneously cited immigration as the “most important issue faced by Britain” compared with one in five who saw defence, foreign affairs, or terrorism as the most vital.
The Ipsos Mori poll was carried out ahead of the CRE's Race Convention 2006, to be held in London on Nov 27-28, which will include provocative seminars entitled “Rivers of blood: did Enoch Powell get it right?” and “Sleepwalking to segregation: are we stirring from our slumber?”
Official figures this month showed that immigration to Britain continued to run at record levels, adding 500 people a day to the population. Net immigration is the highest ever, but there are also record numbers of British citizens leaving the country.
The largest group of arrivals were from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, who accounted for two thirds of net immigration, mainly fuelled by family reunion.
The largest single nationality coming to Britain and staying for a year or more was Poles.
Government actuaries have recalculated the growth of population and predict it will pass 65 million in 2023, reach 67 million by 2031 and keep growing until 2074, placing huge pressure on public services and pensions.
People attending the CRE conference include Ruth Kelly, the Communities Secretary, the former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith, and Dr Mohammed Abdul Bari, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain.
The Telegraph Media Group and Channel 4 are the conference's media partners.