Britons have 'greater fear' of immigration

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The Independent Online

Britons are more fearful about immigration than other nations, according to a poll of people across the US, Canada and western Europe.

Almost one in four (23%) said immigration was the most important issue facing the country, the Transatlantic Trends survey found.

The other countries, including the US (9%), Canada (5%), France (8%), Germany (9%), Italy (10%), Holland (4%) and Spain (3%), appeared far less concerned.

The survey found 59% of Britons agreed there were "too many" people living in the country who were not born here, also a much higher figure than the other nations.

And seven out of 10 (70%) said the Government was doing a poor job in managing immigration.

A total of 47% believed legal immigrants were a burden on social services like schools and hospitals, and 33% said legal immigrants increase crime.

About one in four (22%) said only British citizens should have access to UK schools and 25% said only British citizens should have access to healthcare.

However, the survey also showed that 77% of people agreed legal immigrants were hard workers, and 43% said they were integrating well or very well into society - a higher figure than several of the other nations.

The Government says it is committed to reducing net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands within the lifetime of the Parliament.

The survey, commissioned by the US German Marshall Fund and other organisations, saw at least a thousand people from each country questioned in August, September and November last year.

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