A British government minister says immigration numbers should be reduced because of possible tensions caused by the global financial crisis. Labour Minister Phil Woolas told the London Times that immigration becomes an extremely ‘thorny issue’ when people start being made unemployed. ‘‘I think we have to as a country talk about immigration,’‘ said Woolas. ‘‘Not talking about it is what led to the problems in my constituency 7 years ago. We have to do it in a mature way, in a non discriminatory way, informed by the facts, but we have to talk about it,’‘ he said.
Figures show the British population grew by nearly 2 million to almost 61 million between 2001 and 2007. In an effort to curb immigrant numbers, the government recently adopted a system, whereby migrants gain points depending on their value to the British economy.