Concern about immigration has risen sharply in the past month but the cost of living remains the public’s overwhelming priority, according to a monthly poll.
One in five people told pollster Ipsos that they thought immigration was one of the biggest issues facing the country in a survey carried out in the first week of March, as the Government was preparing to introduce its Illegal Migration Bill.
That total represents a 75% increase since February, with concern highest among older voters, southerners and the least deprived.
But despite the increase in concern about immigration, inflation remains the public’s number one priority with 39% of people telling Ipsos it was one of their biggest issues.
Concern about inflation has come down since its peak in August 2022 but remains significantly higher than at almost any time in the last 30 years.
Ipsos’s poll of 1,000 British adults found concern about inflation was particularly high in London, the North and Scotland, and among younger people, while older voters were more likely to mention the economy generally as one of their biggest concerns.
In total, 37% of people mentioned the economy as a major concern and 21% mentioned the NHS, putting immigration fourth on the list of priorities.
Lack of faith in politics and politicians was fifth, with 17% mentioning it, but that number rose to 30% among the least deprived fifth of the population.
Mike Clemence, a researcher at Ipsos, said: “We have seen a rise in concern about immigration among some groups this month – especially Conservative supporters and older people – but overall the public focus remains most firmly concentrated on economic issues.
“Our analysis of concerns against the relative deprivation of different parts of the country also reveals strongly divergent views.
“Those living in the least deprived areas of Britain are much less likely to see inflation and prices as a concern, but are far more worried about the economy and a lack of faith in politicians.”
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