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Theresa May continues to make false promises on cutting net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’. The policy has been in place now for 7 years, and has spectacularly been missed every year.
Theresa May was the Home Secretary throughout the entire period. She couldn’t meet the target then and she won’t meet it in future. We learn from the ex-Chancellor George Osborne she is isolated in the Cabinet on this. “None of its senior members supports the pledge in private and all would be glad to see the back of something that has caused the Conservative Party such public grief,” he wrote in the London Evening Standard.
This begs the question, if the target is unworkable and none of her colleagues support it, why is she persisting with it? We could give a single acronym in answer that covers this election campaign: UKIP.
The entire Tory Party operation in this election is to try to hoover up the UKIP vote, by sounding and acting as much like UKIP as possible. That means spurious claims to patriotism from a Tory leader who would follow Trump into any war, drive down living standards further and starve the NHS of necessary funding. It also means whipping up anti-foreigner sentiment and sounding tough on immigration. Even when they know their policies are undeliverable.
Theresa May is attempting to get back to Number 10 using an outright falsehood, that she will finally deliver on the net migration target.
The latest wheeze is to charge employers for recruiting workers from overseas. We already make charges on employment, they are called income tax and National Insurance. But let us accept that you could have a smooth, workable system for an additional levy on employers for that overseas recruitment. There would need to be a whole series of exemptions such as the NHS, social care, education, finance, the education system, agriculture and many more, where there are either labour or skills shortages currently. In the latest labour market report the Office for National Statistics reports 777,000 vacancies in the UK, the highest since records began.
Even if a workable system could be put in place, and there were any significant sectors of the economy that were not exempted, the recruitment tax does not do what Theresa May claims. It doesn’t actually lead to lower levels of migration. It is another fake Tory promise, whose main effect might easily be the increase the ‘climate of hostility’ that the Government is creating, which affects all overseas workers, including those legally here, or anyone who people believe is from overseas.
At the same time, it is Theresa May who insists on including international students in the net migration. Even her Cabinet colleagues accept that international students enrich us all. This reveals the purpose of this otherwise pointless policy. It is not meant to be implemented, but serves as a permanent campaign. It is anti-immigrant campaign. Its purpose is to distract from a Government which has presided over the long-ever fall in living standards and intends to do the same all over again.
This is why Theresa May has made false promises on reducing net migration, inflating the total with international students, and why she will continue to do so. It is classic scapegoating. This policy, and the leader who promotes it deserve to be rejected on June 8 by everyone who wants something better for themselves and the next generation.