The Conservative decision to stick with its target for annual net migration in” the tens of thousands” – a target they missed by a mile during the last parliament – is attracting criticism from some business groups.
The Engineering Employers Federation likes the talk about putting the public finances on a sound footing but it says “the mood music on immigration continues to concern businesses who require access to critical skills from overseas.” The London First business group also think the Conservative “focus on competitiveness is undermined by rhetoric on immigration”.
And its not just business groups who think migration is good for growth. Just last month, the official Office for Budget Responsibility revised UP its expectations for long run net migration – it now expects a level of 160,000 a year rather than tens of thousands. (see the bottom of p.39 here).
And because of those higher expected migration levels, the OBR also raised its forecasts for employment, economic growth and tax revenues. So will any of that happen if the Conservatives manage to achieve their net migration target this time round?