Coalition plans to reduce immigration will hinder recovery, says our readers’ panel

VOICE OF THE CITY

GOVERNMENT plans to reduce immigration will hinder Britain’s economic recovery, according to members of our Voice of the City panel.

Forty-three per cent of panellists said policies designed to reduce net immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands would be either “very damaging” or “fairly damaging” to the recovery, against a quarter of panellists who said they would be either “very helpful” or “fairly helpful”.

Twenty-seven per cent of panellists said the policy would have “no effect” while five per cent said they didn’t know.

The findings are in stark contrast to general opinion polls, which show huge support for the government’s plan to cap net immigration. Earlier this month, Ipsos Mori found that three quarters of Britons believe that immigration is currently a problem and just 15 per cent oppose a cap, compared to more than half (57 per cent) who support one.

Earlier this month, coalition tensions over immigration boiled over after business secretary Vince Cable said the Prime Minister had made “very unwise” comments about immigration that “risked inflaming extremism”.

But over half of our panellists (54 per cent) said they were “not at all concerned” that coalition disagreements would destabilise the UK economy, even as the Liberal Democrats and Tories tear strips off each other ahead of the AV referendum. Seven per cent said they were “very concerned” while 37 per cent said they were “fairly concerned”.

Meanwhile, over three quarters of panellists (78 per cent) said ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown was an unsuitable candidate to be the next head of the IMF. Earlier this month, David Cameron courted controversy after he appeared to dash the former Labour leader’s hopes of leading the organisation by signalling he would not back his candidacy.

• City A.M. and PoliticsHome interviewed 481 members of the Voice of the City panel, which has been specially recruited to represent a cross section of London’s financial and business community.

Members of the panel that respond to at least 80 per cent of surveys between now and September will be entered into a prize draw to win a luxury weekend in Paris. Full T&Cs available on request. New members can apply to join at cityam.com/panel