As UK net migration hits a record high, is the government’s inability to hit its targets really a failure?

Net migration to the UK is up, hitting a new record level of 336,000 people (Source: Getty)

Steven Woolfe, Ukip’s migration spokesman, says Yes

Yes – and the serious and far-reaching consequences for Britain belie John McDonnell’s pathetic antics with Mao’s Little Red Book at the Spending Review.

According to the UK Treasury’s very important official Budget 2015 Red Book, which supports the assumptions and details the underlying numbers of the government’s economic blueprint, “capping welfare and controlling migration” are critical success factors for Britain’s long term prosperity.

George Osborne’s U-Turn on tax credits has blown away the welfare cap and yesterday’s migration numbers have holed the government’s budget below the waterline.

How can public administrators control public spending and provide services if they don’t know how many people to plan for?

It is now clear that the Prime Minister’s attempts to reduce welfare benefits that EU migrants receive will fail, further damaging his economic and EU strategies.

It is essential that we end our open-ended EU free movement of people obligations by taking back control of our borders and leaving the EU.

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, says No

There is surely no greater vote of confidence in Britain, no stronger recognition of the health of our economy, and no warmer appreciation for British culture than the fact that 636,000 people came to live, work and study here last year. It should be worn as a badge of honour. It hasn’t always been this way.

In every year between 1964 and 1978, more people left the UK than arrived. But instead of working out how to manage inward migration sensibly, the government seems to lament every additional arrival as some kind of failure.

Businesses are paying the price – indiscriminately chastised for hiring workers from abroad, despite the fact that nearly all the IoD members who employ someone from outside the UK also invest in training British workers.

The real failure of the government’s policy is that its adherence to a bizarre, arbitrary and unenforceable net migration target has destroyed any chance of creating a system which works for businesses, our economy and the public.

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