First and foremost, immigration is very important to our economy. The UK has always been an open nation which embraces people from around the world to live and work here and contribute to our society. We have people working in the NHS, in government, in schools, in public services and setting up businesses from all over the world. This is something to celebrate and be proud of.
But in the last 15 years or so, immigration has hugely increased and has subsequently become a main issue in British politics. It was one of the main concerns raised with me on the doorstep at the General Election.
Net migration into the UK currently stands at 330,000 people a year, and is forecasted to grow year-on-year. This simply isn't sustainable and needs to be addressed. We should continue to embrace people who want to live and work here, just as we expect other countries to embrace British citizens who want to move to their country and utilise their skills.
But at the moment, we have an inconsistant immigration policy with a points-based system for people from outside the European Union, while unlimited numbers of people from within the European Union can come here under freedom of movement.
This means the UK cannot properly plan for how much housing it needs, GP surgeries, infrastructure or schools, and that's one of the reasons why I want us to leave the EU. By leaving, we can implement a sensible immigration policy which continues to let people live and work here, but under a proper system which is accountable to the Government and to Parliament, and is not controlled by Brussels.
We should continue to let the best and brightest people live and work here, but it should be under a universal immigation policy which allows us to better control the numbers of people that come here, as well as deciding what skills we want to bring to the country.