A very emotive issue that I am often asked about concerns the levels of immigration in to this country. Having a controlled immigration system is essential. Our GP surgeries, housing provision and other public services cannot tolerate large numbers of people coming into our country so it is right that we have placed a cap on the numbers of people coming into the UK from outside the EU and ensured that overall numbers have been reduced by a third.
The final year of the last Government saw ¼ million people come in to this country, taking advantage of a system that was hopelessly out of control. I am not critical of those who want to come to our country and improve the quality of life for their families, but I am critical of any system that is open to abuse. There is much to be done still but we have made genuine progress in taking a grip on this issue once more. We have clamped down on the student visa abuses and tightened our border controls.
Kent has benefited for many years from migrant workers, particularly at this time of the year, who come to our country to work in the farming industry. We also see benefits from the expertise brought into the country where we have skills shortage. We have to ensure that immigration is properly controlled and monitored and not allowed to be abused by undesirable elements to take advantage of a system that too often in the past was chaotic and poorly managed.