COFFEE BREAK JANUARY 2019
Coff ee break
Letter to the editor
Government’s immigration reforms will only accentuate the skills shortage
Anew immigration system must command public confi dence and support
the economy. These proposals would achieve neither.
The proposals outlined in the White Paper (https://bit.ly/2Gq6h6y) don’t
meet the UK’s needs and would be a sucker punch for many fi rms right across
the country. The government’s own analysis suggests people and regions will
be poorer as a result of them. The government cannot indulge in selective
hearing. It tunes in to business evidence on a disastrous Brexit no deal but
tunes out from the economic damage of draconian blocks on access to vital overseas workers.
The facts are clear. Brexit is cutting off the ability to recruit and retain staff for nine out of 10
fi rms. Despite fi rms spending over £45 billion in training each year, staff shortages are already
biting. Many sectors are struggling to fi nd the people they need at salaries well below £30,000.
These proposals must change. And when a new system that will work is agreed, the UK must
be given time to adapt. This means at least two years to implement the changes after the rules are
fi nalised. Further consultation is needed to get this right for the whole of the UK, otherwise calls for
devolved and regional immigration policies will only grow louder.
All skill levels matter to the UK economy. A temporary 12-month route for overseas workers
earning under £30,000 would encourage fi rms to hire a diff erent person each year. That needlessly
increases costs and discourages migrants from integrating into local communicates – a key social
concern. It’s not good for the public or business.
The government must not introduce a new system in 2021 that isn’t workable until 2025. Any
new approach will be a major change to the labour market, and fi rms must have time to adapt.
To secure the best trade deals around the world, the UK must be willing to put migration and
labour market access on the negotiating table – starting with the EU, our most signifi cant trading
partner. Failing to recognise this will hamper eff orts to secure the UK the best trade terms possible.
Josh Hardie, deputy director-general, CBI
“Understanding the wider world and
predicting how to take advantage of the
disruption that is coming isn’t easy, and
takes a lot of resources.” Richard Hill,
head of manufacturing, NatWest (p18)
“Those organisations that are already
embracing AI are outperforming those
that aren’t by 5%.” Michael Wignall, chief
technology offi cer, Microsoft UK (p24)
“There are many other sectors that rely
heavily on the success of UK manufacturing
for their own success” David Atkinson,
head of manufacturing, Lloyds Bank (p32)
“Counterfeit trade meant the government
lost almost £3.8 billion in tax revenue in
2013.” Piotr Stryszowski, senior economist,
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MM team out & about
MM editor, Chris Beck, took to the stage at the
Manufacturing Champions Awards to throw
down a gauntlet to those present, imploring
them to better sing the industry’s praises.
Almost 200 delegates gathered at the
Midland Hotel in Manchester ahead of the
2018 Manufacturing Champions Awards.
Find out who won in our report on page 32.