Britain must say ‘no’ to eastern European immigrants, says Cameron

The Prime Minister says young Brits cannot “fully” compete with hard-working   immigrants from Eastern Europe

By Steven Swinford, Senior Political Correspondent

12:38PM GMT 28 Oct 2013

British youths are not “fully capable” of competing with hard working   immigrants from Eastern Europe because they lack the basic skills and   qualifications, David Cameron has said.

The Prime Minister said it was a “cruel fact” that a generation of young   Britons could “left behind” and fail to share in the benefits of the   economic recovery.

He said that in factories across the country up to half of the workforce is   from Eastern European countries such as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

He said that Britain must learn to say “no” to foreign workers and do more to   ensure people leave school with good qualifications and don’t spend their   lives on benefits.

Speaking at the launch of an event to celebrate apprentices at the Mini plant   near Oxford, Mr Cameron said “you can’t blame” immigrants for wanting to   work hard and get on.

He said: “You can go to factories in our country where half the people come   from Poland, Lithuania or Latvia. You can’t blame them, they want to work,   they see the jobs, they come over and they do them.

“But as a country what we ought to be saying is ‘No, let’s get our education   system right so we are producing young people out of our schools and   colleges who are fully capable of doing those jobs’.”

Mr Cameron’s tone is in stark contrast to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London,   who said earlier this month that he is “probably the only” politician in   Britain to admit to be prepared to “stand up and say” he is pro-immigration.

He has said that young Britons are “wet behind the ears” and lack the work   ethic of immigrants, who are prepared to do “menial” jobs that locals refuse.

Mr Cameron said that the welfare system needs to be reformed so it “does not   pay to be out of work”, adding that immigration needs to be restricted.

“Let’s have sensible controls on immigration, particularly from outside the EU   where we can cap the number of people who come,” he said.

He added: “Immigration, welfare and education are totally linked. Crack those   three problems together and we can really get an economy that generates   wealth for our people.”

He defended the government’s controversial work experience programme, which   encourages people to take unpaid internships.

He said: “Getting people into the workplace, giving them experience of work,   of timekeeping and all the things it means to have a job is a really good   way to help get people started.

“It’s a cruel fact but it’s true that the best way to get a job is to have one   already.”

He said: “The danger for a country like Britain is yes, you see the economy   recover, yes you see jobs coming, but you leave behind people who have not   got the right qualifications from school. I don’t want that to happen in our   country.”

Matt Hancock, the skills minister, expanded on Mr Cameron’s comments. He said:   We have a record number of jobs in this country and we’ve got to make sure   that as people leave school, they are in a position to take those jobs.   Likewise the employers should look at local young people when they’re trying   to fill these jobs.”

More than 60 of the UK’s leading businesses have signed up to deliver   new-style apprenticeship schemes, including Mini owners BMW, BAE Systems,   Microsoft and Barclays Bank.


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