Did Philip Hammond just say the British are only good for low-paying jobs?

Philip Hammond has told Wall Street that the government’s pro-business stance remains [Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA (slightly modified)].

Philip Hammond has told Wall Street that the government’s pro-business stance remains [Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA (slightly modified)].

What a way for a major policy to backfire – and in only a couple of days, as well!

Only days after home secretary Amber Rudd announced that UK businesses will force firms to explain how many foreign workers they employ, foreign banks have told Philip Hammond they consider it an attack against them.

His response was even more insulting to the British people.

He said the problem – there’s a problem? – was not highly-skilled and highly-paid people. So they can come in and out of the UK as they please and take jobs for which British citizens could train, if they had a chance.

No, the problem is “people with low skills competing for entry-level jobs”. So he’s saying we need to throw out migrant workers who come here for the lowest-paying jobs, in order to give those jobs to the British citizens who can’t get the training they need for better employment.


“The government is a pro-business government, strongly supportive of open markets, free markets, open economies, free trade,” he said – in other words, the government supports unregulated markets that are wide open to corruption, where sharp operators can make a lot of money.

“But we have a problem – and it’s not just a British problem, it’s a developed world problem – in keeping our populations engaged and supportive of our market capitalism, our economic model.”

Could that be because his economic model depends on the exploitation of that population? I think it could.

Philip Hammond has attempted to reassure bankers and big employers that Theresa May’s government is not adopting a new anti-business stance.

Speaking in New York where he was meeting representatives of Wall Street banks , the chancellor insisted the government’s proposal to force firms to publish how many foreign workers they employed was not aimed at the financial services sector. He also emphasised that the government’s pro-business credentials remained intact.

Hammond told Bloomberg TV: “The problem is not highly skilled and highly paid bankers, brain surgeons, software engineers. You will not find, if you walk around towns in Britain and ask people how they feel about migration, that they a have problem with people with high skills and high earnings coming to the UK … they recognise that those people are a positive contribution to the UK economy. The issue we have to deal with is people with low skills competing for entry-level jobs.”

He added: “We have to recognise that part of the mood in the UK that drove the referendum decision is a mood about the pressure on wages at the lowest end, the entry-level jobs in the economy, from large-scale migration, largely from eastern Europe. We have to address that issue, that’s the clear mandate we have received from the British people.”

Source: Hammond acts to reassure City and Wall Street on Brexit | Politics | The Guardian


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8 thoughts on “Did Philip Hammond just say the British are only good for low-paying jobs?

  1. NMac

    Pity that a lot of people cannot get over their xenophobia and realise that the real enemy is the Tory Party.

  2. Dez

    Old habits, and thinking patterns, die hard with the Cons…….I guess he thinks, like quite a lot of them, that todays rank ‘n file (read plebs) are only just fit for Maccy Dees, and the fast foods of this world.. The Elite are always a special case.

  3. Barry Davies

    I’m not sure how you consider this to be insulting to British people, are you saying that every british person is highly skilled? Do we not have people who can only do the lowest paid jobs? The flooding of this part of the market has indeed driven down wages and prevented people getting entry level jobs.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The implication is that British workers can only do the low-paid, low-skill jobs, and I’m saying that’s not true – and, where it is true, it’s only because they’ve been denied the opportunity because it is easier to recruit people from abroad who were trained elsewhere.
      It isn’t hard to fathom out and I think you’re trying to pick fault for the sake of it.

  4. Brian

    Ultimately, this is another example of the short-termism the Tories are locked into. The current situation has come about by alienating the British by a lack of training & derisory earnings which has encouraged, indeed demanded, that organizations recruit cheaper foreign workers. Earnings are relative, indigenous workers can not afford to (voluntarily) accept a wage that reduces them to poverty and precludes them from benefits enjoyed by other sectors of the population. The Tories also recognize that even were they to start training and rising the the standards now, (which goes against their philosophy) this will take some considerable investment and time, and cause the gravy train many exploit to dry up. Attempts to dodge this bullet are simply making the future less certain and leaving behind the detritus for someone else to clear up. Blame for this rest squarely on the shoulders of themselves, you get what you pay for, if there is no money, which there isn’t, the Tory answer is to hit the ball into the long grass. A classic example here by Hammond.

  5. mrmarcpc

    Well the way the British just either roll over or bend over and accept anything giving to them without speaking up and standing up for themselves, the tory slimeball may have a point!

  6. plhepworth

    An ‘entry level’ job implies automatic progress, but such jobs will always be there, and not every private has a field marshal’s baton in his/her rucksack. The phrase betrays the Tories’ exculpatory pseudo-meritocratic philosophy – eg, grammar schools as vehicles for the working classes to climb the ladder, except that in reality very few of any class can, or would wish to, as doing so involves trampling on fellow citizens on the way up. Workers in ‘entry level’ jobs should be respected and well paid.

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