Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Interesting first day back at Westminster ....

House of Lords reform and immigration dominated the return to westminster with parliamentary statements by both the key Ministers
I am still amazed that the deputy prime minister has elected (forgive the pun) not to pursue house of lords reform and effectively given up, describing as he did so the David Steel reforms as puny.  I stil believed a deal could be done given that the vote at second reading backing the bill in principle was 500 to 120 odd.
On immigration there was discussion about the clampdowns on unlawful immigration and it is worth reproducing the latest figures. I speak as the ancestor of immigrants and hope I can see both sides of the argument.
Damian Green the immigration minister said yesterday:
"Net migration is falling as our reforms take effect. It is down by 36,000 between December 2010 and December 2011, with 26,000 of this fall occurring in the last quarter. There has been an overall fall in net The numbers for visas issued, which are more up to date, covering a period to June 2012, show:
• Student visas down 30%
• Work visas down 7%
• Family visas down 10%.
Grants of extension to stay are down 11% in the year to June 2012, and settlement grants fell by a third over the same period.
Apart from our commitment to reduce the numbers we are also determined to make the system more selective and the evidence of our success is emerging in these figures. Despite the fall in overall work visas, skilled work visas rose 4%. There was a 3% increase in tourist visit visas, and in the vital Chinese market we saw a 28% increase in visitors. This shows that immigration control is compatible with the growth agenda."