The British public has U-turned on immigration compared to 13 years ago, according to research from the Policy Institute at King’s College London.
The proportion of Britons who think employers should prioritise native-born workers over immigrants has more than halved from 69 per cent in 2009 to 30 per cent in 2022. The only other countries in the study less likely to hold this view were Germany and Sweden.
The researchers also noted that the decline was at least partly driven by a change in attitude among older generations: whereas in 2009, 73 per cent of the generation born before 1945 felt employers should prioritise native-born workers over immigrants, now just 38 per cent do.
“Politicians often misread public opinion on immigration”, says Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute. “In the 2000s, Labour government rhetoric and policy on this issue was more relaxed than public preferences, and arguably they paid the price — but the current government is falling into the reverse trap.”
Our other charts of the week . . .
On February 21, the extent of Antarctic sea ice fell to a record low of 1.79mn square kilometres according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This eclipsed the previous record low of 1.92mn sq km set on February 25, 2022. The extent has been tracking well below last year’s levels since mid-December.
Despite 2022 and 2023 recording the two lowest minimums, four out of the five of the highest minimums have occurred since 2008, the long-term trend between 1979 and 2023 is almost static. However, since 2016 there has been a steep decline in the extent of the sea ice. This has fuelled research as to the potential causes and whether this is a sign of a significant downward trend.
Ahead of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, data from the European Institute for Gender Equality shows that women account for a third of key decision makers in the average EU large listed company. This is more than double the proportion a decade ago.
The most progress has been made in Portugal, which has 4.5 times as many female decision makers as it did in 2012. The only country to now have a lower proportion is Latvia, a third lower than a decade ago.
France is the closest to reaching gender parity. Women make up 45% of decision makers at the largest listed companies.
The prison population in England and Wales is projected to rise at a slower rate than was previously expected owing to delays in handling the Covid backlog and strike action by the Criminal Bar Association in mid-2022.
The estimates still suggest the prison population will reach a ten-year high by the second half of 2023, however. This reflects the anticipated impact of the UK government’s aim to increase police officer numbers to 148,433 by March 2023.
The projections are sensitive to such policy announcements, as well as changes to sentencing behaviours and the composition of cases entering the courts.
Forty per cent of Britons believe the economy to be one of the biggest problems facing the country, overtaking concern about the NHS which fell by 17 percentage points from January this year.
A further 35 per cent mention inflation and prices, a slight decline from the previous month, according to Ipsos’s issues index.
Concern for the economy is particularly marked among men, older age groups and the middle classes.
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