Britons More Interested in Immigration Control, Survey Shows


There has been so much talk on how the U.K. economy would suffer if shut out of the European single market, but people in the country are more interested in greater control over the borders, according to a recent survey.

Prime Minister Theresa May has shown greater interest in controlling immigration as negotiations on Britain’s exit from the European Union continues. It now appears she is not alone in prioritizing stronger control over the country’s borders.

Roughly 56 percent of respondents in a survey by polling and market research firm Survation considered border control a higher priority than participation in the single market.

In the poll carried out for the “Agenda Show” on ITV, nearly half of those who voted the Labor Party approved of the way May has approached the country’s exit from the EU so far. Overall, 58 percent of respondents supported the approach.

The pound has declined considerably against the dollar since the June 23 referendum. The slump has even contributed to some multinational companies, including Unilever, Nestle and Microsoft, announcing or considering price increases in the U.K.

The slump in currency value that set in as a result of the Brexit vote doesn’t seem to have changed the view of most Britons, however. Survation researchers said around 47 percent of respondents said they would still vote “Leave” if another referendum were to be called.

Roughly 46 percent of the respondents said they would vote “Remain” given another opportunity.

GDP data due on Thursday is expected to show a significant slowdown in the U.K. economy as a result of the tumbling pound.

Evidence from the markets suggests investors are becoming more afraid that the effects of Brexit will be hard on the debt markets. They appear not to be confident that the Bank of England would do much to boost long-term sterling bonds.

Bloomberg reports that investors have lost around 10 percent on long-term bonds issued by top UK companies such as Vodafone Group, British American Tobacco and WPP in just seven weeks. The bond sales had taken place following the announcement by British central bank in August that it would buy corporate debt in the country.

A slumping currency, unimpressive inflation figures and possibility of a hard Brexit have combined to suppress the confidence of many investors.

U.K. Finance Minister Phillip Hammond and BOE Governor Mark Carney are billed to appear before the Parliament on Tuesday. Questions to be asked by the lawmakers are expected to center around Brexit and inflation, among others.

The future of Carney as the central bank governor is also likely to be discussed at the Parliament, according to Bloomberg. The Canadian-born economist has given himself the end of the year as the deadline for deciding how long he intends to stay as the BOE head – uncertainty over this is believed to be capable of worsening investor confidence.

Majority of the respondents in the Survation poll didn’t think there was need for a general election. Only a little over 25 percent thought one was needed.

While Britons appear not to be interested much in the single market, Scotland is believed to be seeking a way to remain part of it. Sky News reports that the country is considering joining the European Free Trade Association to maintain access to the single market.

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