David Cameron’s pledge to cut immigration is in ruins after net annual migration soared to more than a quarter of a million.
Official figures this morning showed net migration rose to 260,000 in the 12 months to June, compared with 182,000 in the previous year.
Before the election Mr Cameron promised to reduce the figure from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands and asked to be judged on whether he hit the target.
But today’s statistics show net migration is now running at higher levels than the Government inherited from Labour.
They will add to the pressure over immigration on the Prime Minister, who is due to outline proposals within days for limiting migration from the EU.
The bulk of the new arrivals are economic migrants from the EU – principally from Eastern Europe as well as Mediterranean countries – who have full entitlement to work in Britain.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 583,000 people moved to the UK over the period, a “statistically significant increase” from the 502,000 in the previous 12 months. It included a 45,000 rise from the EU and 30,000 from outside the EU.
Net migration to the UK – the difference between those arriving and leaving – was 260,000 in the period as 323,000 people emigrated from the country.
The figures come after the Home Secretary, Theresa May, conceded at the weekend that flows from the EU had disrupted efforts to reduce the net annual figure to below 100,000 and it was “unlikely” the target would be reached by the end of this parliament.