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By Harold D. Clarke;Peter Kellner;Marianne Stewart

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When asked who should be admitted to Britain, most YouGov respondents rejected a cutback in the current numbers of immigrants who come to work in the NHS, to study at British universities, who are highly educated, want to invest in Britain, or are fleeing wars or persecution. Not surprisingly, large majorities of Labour and Liberal Democrat voters shared these views. But so did most Conservatives, and even UKIP supporters generally welcomed students, investors and the highly educated. So, as the 2015 election approached, why did so many people think that immigration was such a huge national problem?

He argued that if demand in the private sector rapidly declined, the government should step into to fill the gap by spending more money than it took in from taxation. Rather than being something to avoid at all costs as many of his predecessors had believed, Keynes contended that deficit spending is the solution to recession since it kick-starts economic growth. Such spending produces a virtuous circle of growth, falling unemployment, increased tax receipts and eventually it ends the recession and brings down the budget deficit.

A YouGov poll for The Times a few weeks before the 2015 election demonstrated this contrast vividly. As many as 75 per cent of respondents thought that there had been too much immigration into Britain in the previous ten years. Yet, when they considered specific groups, a more nuanced picture emerged. 0004 Setting the Scene for 2015  negative impact on British life. That said, there was no doubt about what voters wanted; by large majorities they wanted net immigration to be cut sharply. This demand was linked to a widespread belief that immigrants come to Britain in huge numbers to live on benefits rather than get a job – a perception at odds with official data.

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