Although immigration is at the forefront of the Brexit debate, the British Conservative government wants more foreign workers
The UK government has unveiled its economic growth plan, which aims to pull the UK out of recession with tax cuts and increased immigration. While Prime Minister Liz Truss has promised to crack down on illegal entry into the UK, her government is keen to recruit more skilled, unskilled and seasonal workers from overseas.
Unveiled by Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday, the government’s growth plan includes the biggest tax cuts in 50 years – with the wealthiest earners considering a reduction in the top rate of income tax from 45% to 40%, and the lowest paid employees expecting a base rate cut from 20% to 19%. Combined with aid for Britons facing spiraling energy bills, the package is expected to cost the UK £161 billion ($174 billion) over the next five years.
Kwarteng hopes to offset this cost by flooding the UK with foreign labour. Claim that immigration “plays an important role in economic growth, productivity and innovation”, the chancellor’s plan states that “The government will lay out a plan in the coming weeks to ensure the immigration system supports growth while maintaining control.”
The document states that “significant migration flows” could help support the UK economy.
As the plan highlights skilled immigrants as the key to economic growth, The Times reported that Home Secretary Suella Braverman will expand a program allowing farmers and growers to hire unskilled workers from overseas for longer than the current six-month limit, while Truss will likely lift the current 40,000 annual cap on seasonal workers.
These decisions are likely to upset many Conservative Party voters. Truss backed Brexit after a successful referendum in 2016, largely due to resentment among Tory voters over high levels of immigration in previous decades.
As Truss vowed to crack down on the record number of illegal immigrants entering the UK by sea, she has been accused by rival Rishi Sunak’s team of betraying Brexit voters and showing her “true colors remaining” backing increased immigration during the party’s leadership race last month.
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