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Britons say economy their top concern, overtaking immigration – poll

Britons are now more concerned about the economy than they are about terrorism or immigration, a survey showed on Tuesday, another sign that consumers are feeling increasingly worried about Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

The survey by data and information group Nielsen found that 28 percent of Britons named the economy as one of their top two concerns at the end of 2016, up 12 percentage points from a year ago.

That compared with 20 percent of people who named terrorism or immigration in their top two concerns, representing falls of 12 points and 2 points respectively since the end of 2015.

Britain’s government is preparing to leave the EU with an approach that prioritises greater immigration controls over preserving the country’s unfettered access to the bloc’s single market.

“As the political and economic planning for Brexit gets underway, concerns about jobs leaving the UK have unsettled consumers,” said Steve Smith, managing director, Nielsen U.K. and Ireland.

Consumers supported the UK economy after the Brexit vote in June last year although data last week showed shoppers unexpectedly cut back on spending in January.

In January, a survey by polling firm ORB showed that greater control of immigration was more important for Britons than free trade with the EU during negotiations.

The online Nielsen study surveyed 504 people.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by William Schomberg)

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