David Cameron's hopes of slashing the number of people moving to Britain suffered a fresh setback yesterday as figures showed net migration continuing to run at more than 250,000 a year.
The Prime Minister has insisted that moves to tighten up the immigration system will reduce the influx from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands by the next election in 2015. But the Office for National Statistic said net migration, the difference between numbers coming to Britain and those leaving, stood at 252,000 in the 12 months to the end of September 2011.
The figure was down by just 3,000 over the same period a year earlier, with barely any progress towards the Prime Minister's target. Mr Cameron's official spokesman insisted he stood by the commitment. He said: "It is still our intention to bring the levels back down to the tens of thousands. Clearly it is going to take some time."