Speaking today, David Cameron has said that he wants the UK to be the "most welcoming country" and "internationally connected". Sadly, this rhetoric does not match the policies he is set to introduce. Jonathan Portes says that the government's immigration crackdown makes a mockery of claims that the country is "open for business".
It is not credible for the government to say, via the Queen, that its first priority is to “strengthen Britain’s economic competitiveness.. support the growth of the private sector and the creation of more jobs and opportunities”, while making the primary objective of immigration policy the reduction of net migration. The first priority for politicians of all parties should be simply to make clear that immigration, like trade, is central to making the UK open for business, and hence to our growth strategy. There are many specific policy changes, major and minor, that are required. But in my view, more important is a change of attitude and mindset on the part of government and policymakers. If we want to be serious about growth, we need to be positive about migration.