As changes to immigration rules take centre stage in the Queen’s Speech, a tracking poll of the issues most important to voters finds immigration at highest point since June 2010
The coalition’s legislative agenda for the year was laid out today by the Queen in a government-prepared speech given at the State Opening of Parliament. The centre piece of the speech was the announcement of a new bill aimed at reforming British immigration policy, which includes measures that would restrict migrants’ access to benefits and the NHS, require landlords to check the immigration status of tenants, and bar illegal immigrants from obtaining driving licences.
The new push for changes to the UK immigration system come as a YouGov poll that tracks which issues Britons think are the most important to the nation finds “Immigration” at its highest level since YouGov started asking the question in mid-2010.
As of May 6-7 this year, 57% ranked “Immigration” among the top three most important issues facing Britain currently, a rise of 11% compared to when the question was asked last May, around the same time as the 2012 Queen’s Speech.
“The Economy” was cited most of all (by 76%), as it has been every time the question has been asked since June 2010, when 80% said it was one of the most important issues facing Britain.
The high-point in concern about immigration comes just days after UKIP made major gains in local elections with a sales pitch that heavily emphasized the need for Britain to reduce immigration and leave the EU. The importance of "Europe", mentioned by 21% of British adults this week, has remained mostly stable since May 2012, when 19% said it was the most important issue facing Britain.