Matt Cavanagh

Willetts attempts to limit the damage of Coalition immigration policy

There was a flutter of excitement among the Higher Education community this morning, when the education editor of the Times tweeted that David Willetts, the Universities Minister, was about to announce that overseas students would be excluded from net migration figures, and therefore from the Prime Minister’s pledge to reduce net migration to under 100,000

What’s in Mark Harper’s immigration in-tray?

As an ambitious young MP rewarded with promotion to Immigration Minister, Mark Harper could be forgiven for viewing the job with mixed emotions. Traditionally one of the most senior ministerial jobs outside Cabinet, it will certainly guarantee him plenty of exposure, but not always for the right reasons. His first and biggest problem is the

Troubled families policy deserves cross-party support

The report published this week by Louise Casey, the Government’s ‘Troubled Families’ Tsar, has attracted a fair amount of criticism, but what it does illustrate is the chaotic lives these families lead – and the implausibility of thinking that their problems can be solved by the kind of flagship social policies traditionally favoured by either

A U-turn on international students would be welcome

If you have been confused over the last couple of days by the mixed messages emerging from Downing Street about the government’s policy on international students, you are not alone: the same applies to many figures inside Whitehall.  The Sunday Times reported a Number 10 source saying David Cameron is ‘definitely considering a change in

Foxhound arrives in Afghanistan – five years too late

There was welcome news yesterday for our forces in Afghanistan, and for those who want to see them supplied with the best equipment, with pictures of the first ‘Foxhound’ patrol vehicles arriving in Helmand. Foxhound is the long-awaited replacement for the Snatch Land Rover, whose inadequate protection against Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq and then

Another voice: How ministers are gaming the net migration target

International students are currently the largest single category of immigrants who count in the net migration figures, which cover all those intending to stay more than a year. In the most recent figures (the year to June 2011) there were 242,000 such students — making up 40 per cent of so-called ‘long term’ immigration. However,

Replacing control orders: an unsatisfactory compromise 

A small silver lining for David Cameron in the ‘cash for access scandal’: on a quieter day, today’s report on the coalition’s replacement of control orders with ‘Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures’ (TPIMs) might have got more attention. The report, published by the Independent Reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, makes for difficult reading

Why the immigration cap isn’t biting — and why that is good news

The government’s official advisers on immigration, the Migration Advisory Committee, have today published a report into the restrictions on skilled migrant workers from outside the EU. Turns out that the much-vaunted ‘cap’ on skilled workers has only been half taken up — with numbers likely to be around 10,000 against the cap of 20,700 —

The infantryman’s struggle in Afghanistan

If you have an interest in the military campaign in Afghanistan, or in modern film-making — and if you have a strong stomach — I would strongly recommend Hell and Back Again, a contender in the Best Documentary category at the Oscars this weekend. Despite winning the World Documentary prize at Sundance last year, it

The implications of today’s border security report

Today brought closure of a kind to last year’s border fiasco (which I covered for Coffee House here and here), with the publication of the report by the Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, John Vine. On first reading, there is no ‘smoking gun’ which would trigger a ministerial resignation. The report does find

How to implement a minimum price for alcohol

Pete posted earlier on the Prime Minister’s latest intervention on the issue of problem drinking. The new proposals — like a greater police presence in A&Es, and ‘drunk tanks’, special units where drunks are taken to sober up — are sensible enough, but seem small relative to the scale of the supposed problem, and focus on peripheral (though

The MoD wastes another opportunity

Today’s White Paper on defence procurement makes disappointing reading for the UK defence industry — and for anyone who believes that one of the lessons of the last few years is that we need a more active industrial policy. IPPR set out the case in a recent report on globalisation, arguing for sustained support for

The Home Office still hasn’t cleared up its border issues

Remember Theresa May’s border skirmish against Brodie Clark back in November? This morning the Home Affairs Select Committee published their report into the whole affair. Ideally it would have cleared up some of the confusions over who was responsible for waiving various security checks at our borders last summer, and whether they were right to