Theresa May’s new cabinet has performed a U-turn on its highly controversial plans to force companies to list
publicly their foreign-born workers.
Home secretary Amber Rudd unveiled the policy at the Conservative Party conference just over a week ago, outlining her plans to curb immigration to the UK dramatically.
Briefing notes seen after her speech suggested that firms could be “required to be clear about what proportion of their workforce is international,” prompting widespread condemnation.
On Sunday, a cabinet minister announced that companies would not be forced to publish the lists.
Justine Greening, the education minister, told ITV’s Peston programme: “This is not data that will be published.”
“This is about informing policy so that we understand particularly which areas and parts of the country there are skills shortages evidenced by the fact employers are not taking local workers as much as they might do,” she said.
“It then enables us really to tailor policy in those areas so that we can respond to that, and make sure that people can take advantage of opportunities economically in their area,” she added.
The policy was widely popular with the public, but roundly condemned by politicians from all parties.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the policy would “fan the flames of xenophobia,” Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said it was a “nasty little policy,” and a UKIP MEP suggested the policy could be seen as “fascist.”
Responding to the U-turn, Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “The Tories are in disarray following Amber Rudd’s worrying statement last week, contradicting each other as their policy falls apart at the seams.
“The Tories’ anti-foreigner agenda is a distraction from their own complete failures of policy and against the best interests of society.
“Many sectors risk collapse if the Tories press ahead with these plans on overseas workers: the City, farmers, the NHS, and construction.”
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