Business groups attack May’s anti-immigration ‘rhetoric’

15 Oct 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Home Secretary Theresa May has come under fire from business leaders over the anti-immigration tone of her speech to the Conservative Party Conference.

Mrs May used her speech at last week’s conference to suggest immigrant workers were taking employment from native born workers and affecting the cohesive nature of the UK’s society.

However, the Institute of Directors (IoD) accused her of using “irresponsible rhetoric” which could put the UK’s economic recovery at risk.

IoD director, Simon Walker, said: "It is yet another example of the Home Secretary turning away the world's best and brightest, putting internal party politics ahead of the country, and helping our competitor economies instead of our own.

"The myth of the job-stealing immigrant is nonsense. Immigrants do not steal jobs, they help fill vital skill shortages and, in doing so, create demand and more jobs. If they did steal jobs, we wouldn't have the record levels of employment we currently do."

He called on the Government to stop “undermining” business, “stop vilifying migrants” and to instead recognise the import role they play in the UK’s economy.

His views were echoed by the Confederation of British Industry, which pointed out that migration has benefited the economy by allowing businesses to hire overseas workers with essential skills.

Meanwhile, The Economist magazine published evidence showing that Mrs May’s assertions were contrary to a Home Office report published in 2014, which said there was little evidence that migration “caused statistically significant displacement of UK natives from the labour market in periods when the economy is strong”.

In addition, it countered her claim that migration brought no economic benefits to the UK by referring to another report that showed European migrants made a net contribution of more than £4 billion to public finances between 1995 and 2011.