Sunak insists his immigration crackdown is working amidst public backlash

Rishi Sunak insisted that his plan to reduce immigration was working, but conceded there is still a “long way to go”. 

Holding a press conference in Dover the Prime Minister said small boat crossings were down 20 per cent compared to last year. 

He said: “Our plan is starting to work. Before I launched my plan in December, the number entering the UK illegally in small boats had more than quadrupled in two years. 

“Some said this problem was insoluble, or just a fact of 21st century life. They’d lost faith in politicians to put in the hard yards to do something about it. And of course, we still have a long way to go. But in the five months since I launched the plan, crossings are now down 20 per cent compared to last year.

“This is the first time since the problem began that arrivals between January and May have been lower than the previous year.” 

He claimed that while the UK was performing better than other European countries, the government was not “complacent.” 

“With grit and determination, the government can fix this, and we are using every tool at our disposal.” 

Despite Sunak’s statements, analysts refer to poor weather so far in 2023 as being mostly responsible for the decrease in the number of boat crossings.

According to Home Office calculations, if the present rate of arrivals continues, the government may spend up to £6 billion over the next two years holding and deporting immigrants under the new migration bill. 

Sunak’s visit to Dover comes as a new poll of 2,200 British people conducted between May 26 and 30 yielded a dismal verdict on the public’s perception of progress on Sunak’s five priorities. 

In terms of easing the cost of living crisis, 60% believe the government is doing a poor job, while only 18% believe the government is doing a good one.

Likewise, 62 per cent thought the government was not delivering on reducing NHS waiting times and 50 per cent believe the government is doing a bad job at growing the economy.

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