Charlie Mullins, the millionaire founder of London's Pimlico Plumbers, has said that there are so many immigrant workers in the UK because there are insufficient British workers to fill the available vacancies. He says 'To my mind, it is simply a supply and demand situation…There is not enough UK talent to fill the jobs which is creating opportunities for migrants'.
Mr Mullins left school at 15 with no qualifications. He founded Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 when he was 25. He is sometimes referred to as 'the plumber to the stars' and is said to be worth around £50m. He appears on television fairly frequently and is perhaps Britain's only famous plumber.
Writing on the RealBusiness.co.uk website, Mr Mullins said that immigration is 'one of those issues that truly divide the nation'. He said 'Most British employers love employing British workers. But say there are just 20 British applicants compared to 300 European applicants for 50 job vacancies, it's pretty obvious who the largest percentage of the jobs will go to'.
'It's a skills and training issue'Mr Mullins says that his 'vote is split' on the reasons for the lack of British applicants for jobs. 'Firstly, the ingrained culture in many areas of UK society, which prefers alternatives to working – i.e. benefits – that needs to be destroyed. Secondly, undoubtedly it's a skills and training issue.'
Mr Mullins says that there has been a 'historical prejudice against vocational training' which has led to a shortage of skilled British tradespeople.
He continued 'If the UK workforce contained the right levels of skills and motivated workers, migration wouldn't be an issue. Workers from abroad would, of course, still be welcome to the UK to try and get work, but they would find it far tougher to get jobs up against a better equipped and driven British workforce'.
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