» Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Asked whether today’s announcement had signalled a change of policy on migration, the Prime Minister Official Spokesman (PMOS) said the Government still believed migration was of net benefit to this country and to the economy in particular. That was why we believed that what we had done on the A8 accession was right. That view had been supported both by the CBI and the TUC. Therefore, we had to absorb the lessons of that accession and why we had gone for transitional arrangements this time. We still believed in the benefits of migration, but we were taking the practical steps on how to manage the transition.

Asked whether this was the first time the Government had set limits on the basis of nationality, the PMOS said this did not call into question our overall commitment to freedom of movement within the EU. These were practical transitional arrangements. Asked whether the Prime Minister agreed with Mikes Gapes who had said that this would force people to the black economy, the PMOS said, as journalists would see if they looked at the Ministerial Statement it also proposed a series of fines both for those who tried to and worked illegally. Both for employees and those who employed them. There were real incentives in the system to prevent people going onto the black economy. Asked whether the Government saw this easing in the future, the PMOS said there would be a review in a year. People should wait and see what that review said. So people should not sit here today and pre-judge the outcome.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Search for related news

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