Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will vow to cut immigration, arguing that current levels are hitting schools, hospitals and housing and driving down wages.
Her tough stance comes after net annual migration hit 330,000, the highest level on record, which has wrecked David Cameron’s promise to cut it to tens of thousands.
She will tell the Tory conference: “There is no case, in the national interest, for immigration of the scale we have experienced over the last decade.”
Ms May will say that people on the “extremes” of the debate conflate refugees with economic migrants. “There are millions of people in poorer countries who would love to live in Britain, and there is a limit to the amount of immigration any country can and should take.”
“When immigration is too high, when the pace of change is too fast, it’s impossible to build a cohesive society. It’s difficult for schools and hospitals and core infrastructure like housing and transport to cope. And we know that for people in low-paid jobs, wages are forced down even further while some people are forced out of work altogether.”
She will cite research which, she will say, concludes that “at best the net economic and fiscal effect of high immigration is close to zero”.