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.”
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