Tories commit to tough immigration policy

Iain Withers

Party’s manifesto light on infrastructure commitments and numbers

The Conservative manifesto has confirmed a tough approach to immigration, as Theresa May laid out a blueprint to tackle what she called the UK’s “giant challenges”.

The party has stuck to its pledge to reduce net immigration below 100,000 and ignored calls to exclude overseas students from statistics.

If elected the party will “bear down on immigration from outside the EU” across all visa routes, the manifesto says.

But it pledged to “secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU”, which was welcomed by the RIBA.

Jane Duncan, RIBA president, said: “The RIBA has long been calling for the rights of non-UK EU nationals to be confirmed. I’m happy to see it is included in the Conservative manifesto.

“Skilled architects come to the UK from across the world, giving us the edge in creativity and innovation; we need to ensure this continues into the future.”

Unlike the 2015 Conservative manifesto, the document is light on infrastructure commitments – it commits to HS2, Northern Powerhouse rail and the expansion of Heathrow airport but a pledge to push forward with Crossrail 2 has been dropped, while new nuclear power stations also fail to get a mention.

As trailed at the weekend, the manifesto contains a commitment to helping councils and housing associations build more social housing, but with no funding commitments attached.

Business groups generally welcomed the Conservatives’ plans, but the CBI branded the party’s “blunt approach to immigration” its “Achilles heel”.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, added: “The next government can both control migration and support prosperity - it does not need to be an either-or choice.”

Duncan said: “The Conservative Party’s manifesto outlines its vision to further empower communities.

“Whoever forms the next government should ensure that plans to build high quality housing and infrastructure are linked with industrial and devolution strategies to encourage more jobs and a better quality of life for people across the country.”

 

Other pledges in the Conservative manifesto

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