» Monday, September 10, 2007

British Jobs

Asked whether the Prime Minister’s aim to create more British jobs for British workers was a recognition that perhaps the level of migrant workers into Britain was too high, the PMS replied it was a recognition of the fact that although the country had roughly 8-900,000 people on the claimant count, there were in fact 650,000 vacancies in Britain. The PMS added that more needed to be done to match the current level of vacancies to workers who were currently claiming unemployment benefit, hence the package of measures the Prime Minister would be announcing today. This would be in relation to closer working between Job Centre Plus and the major employers through the local employer partnerships, as well as improving centres for loan parents imparticular, to get back into work.

Asked if the Prime Minister recognised the concerns of people who thought there were too many migrant workers, the PMS said that the Prime Minister believed immigration had had a positive effect on the British economy. The Government had moved towards the points-based system in relation to migration, which differentiates between the economic contributions made by different migrant workers. The Prime Minister would be announcing a strengthening of that system today, through the new requirement for fluency in the English language for skilled workers, but the PMS added that it was also necessary to recognise that migration needed to be responsive to the needs of the economy. Therefore the Government was not in favour of imposing a fixed numerical limit on the total number of migrants coming into the economy, because that would depend on decisions made by individuals and by employers.

Asked whether the Government had made any progress on hitting it’s target of 80% employment and when that figure might be reached, the PMS said that progress was being made and employment was at record levels. The PMS suggested that for the specific figures, people should speak to the Treasury. Asked if hitting the target depended on these jobs being filled by British workers, the PMS said that it would help the Government in reaching that target, but it would depend on a whole host of factors, of which one element was Government policy.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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