Miliband: Low-skilled migration too high

03 Oct 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, has suggested that the levels of low-skilled workers migrating to the UK are too high.

Speaking to the BBC's World at One radio programme, Mr Miliband rejected the Coalition government's current caps on UK work permits and immigration because they did not address the numbers of workers arriving from the EU.

He suggested that tougher employment rights and better enforcements of existing regulations would be a better solution.

However, he was also keen to protect the rights of workers coming to this country and ensure that they do not suffer at the hands of unscrupulous bosses and others who may take advantage of their vulnerable position. "I'd like it to be the case that employers didn't find they have vacancies they don't believe they can fill, so what they reach for is low skill migration," he remarked.

The opposition leader went so far as to say that Labour's loss of power in 2010 was influenced by the fact that the country did not believe that the party could protect British workers from the challenges presented by increasing levels of migration.

A troubled economy, a lack of focus on young people and the power of vested interests were also flagged up as contributing factors.

Mr Miliband's comments follow his recent speech given on the closing day of the Labour conference in Manchester, during which he surprised many with his strong delivery. The core of the speech focused on a return to what Miliband called "one nation" politics, suggesting that the country needs to find its identity and support people from all backgrounds.

Whether or not this vision will be realised is unclear and Labour has some way to go to regain the support of the voters. But Ed Miliband's new-found voice should help to provide an opposing view on the current government's harsh approach to UK immigration.