The leader of the UK Labour Party has delivered a party political broadcast on UK television saying that the last Labour government got its UK immigration policy wrong. He said that he now has 'a new approach' to the issue.
Mr Miliband said that he had listened to the UK electorate. He now believes that low-skilled immigration from the European Union has been too high. This has meant that some UK citizens have lost the chance to work. He proposes three policies to help cut low-skilled, EU immigration into the UK;
• Imposing 'the maximum transitional controls for new countries coming in [to the EU] from eastern Europe'
• 'Properly enforcing the minimum wage so people aren't brought in to undercut workers already here' and
• 'give proper training to workers already here so that they have a fighting chance of filling the vacancies that exist'
Local people must 'get a fair crack of the whip'Mr Miliband said that there was nothing wrong with employing people from abroad but said that 'the rules need to be fair so that local people get a fair crack of the whip'.
Mr Miliband also proposed that all immigrants to the UK would have to learn English under a Labour government and repeated his view that those unable to speak English to an acceptable standard should not be allowed to work in the public sector in a 'public-facing role'.
Mr Miliband it seems, is responding to public opinion polls which show that Labour has lost a great deal of support because it allowed such high levels of immigration between 1997 and 2010. Over that period, at least two million people settled in the UK. A poll conducted in October 2012 by YouGov, for instance, suggested that Labour had lost around 4m votes because of immigration. The same poll found that, even among those who continued to support the Labour Party, most people favoured very low migration.
However, he has faced some criticism from his own party. The Hackney and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott, who was the first black woman MP, tweeted shortly before the broadcast went out on Wednesday 6th March 'Is Labour tackling immigration? Or just pandering without offering concrete solutions?'
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