Jeremy Corbyn has urged UK voters to stop blaming migrants for the country's problems, as the issue of immigration dominates the EU referendum campaign. The Labour leader, speaking in Sheffield on 16 June, suggested disillusioned voters should point their fingers at rogue employers and politicians instead.

The left-winger issued the plea as he called for the reinstating the Migrant Impact Fund to pump public cash into local areas across the UK where large scale migration has been said to put a strain on public services, such as schools and GPs.

"Such a fund used to exist, Gordon Brown established it in 2008 but David Cameron abolished it two years later," Corbyn argued.

"He was also the guy who pledged he would cut net migration below 100,000, if you remember. But today it's well over 300,000 far higher than at any point under Labour governments and local authorities and public services have had their budgets slashed at the same time.

"And, as I raised with David Cameron yesterday in parliament, we can and we must act now to end the scandal of jobs here in Britain that are only advertised abroad. As I said before, if you want someone to blame, blame politicians and some of the appalling employers they protect.

"And if we want to stop insecurity at work and the exploitation of zero hours contracts that are being used to drive down pay and conditions, why don't we do what other European countries have done and simply ban them?"

The issue of immigration has become a top concern during referendum, with Vote Leave backing an Australian-style points system and Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson suggesting the EU's free movement rules should be revised.

But Corbyn has maintained that he backs Brussels' free movement of people principle. "It's easy to blame people who come to this country, to blame the outsider, to blame bureaucrats in Brussels," he added.

"It's also very convenient for politicians too. If you're blaming a scapegoat you're not blaming the people with the real power, the corporate elite and the politicians in government who do its bidding."

However, the latest opinion polls suggest the issue could be driving the UK towards a Brexit on 23 June. The latest telephone survey from Ipsos Mori for The Evening Standard, of more than 1,200 people between 11 and 14 June, put Leave on 53% (+10) and Remain on 47% (-10).

The research also showed that immigration had climbed to 33% (+5) as a top concern, while the economy had fallen to 28% (-5).