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Bosses attack 'dangerously naive' Amber Rudd over foreign workers lists

Published 10/10/2016

Business leaders criticised Home Secretary Amber Rudd, pictured, and Prime Minister Theresa May over the plan
Business leaders criticised Home Secretary Amber Rudd, pictured, and Prime Minister Theresa May over the plan

Top business leaders have accused Home Secretary Amber Rudd of "demonising" migrant workers with her widely-derided idea to make companies list their foreign employees.

As the Government beat an embarrassing retreat on the flagship initiative unveiled by Ms Rudd at the Tory conference, leading entrepreneurs were scathing about the fact it was ever considered seriously .

Branding Ms Rudd "dangerously naive", they also accused Prime Minister Theresa May of being anti-business.

100 business leaders including Cobra Beers founder Lord Bilimoria, TechHub founder Elizabeth Varley and Red or Dead co-founder Wayne Hemingway expressed outrage that the plan was even aired in public.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, they wrote: "Amber Rudd's statement to the Conservative Party conference on registering foreign-born employees was anti-worker, anti-business and dangerously naive.

"For business to thrive we must be able to hire the best people for the job. The ability to hire both British and non-British people has historically helped business grow by bringing in varied skills and perspectives.

"The Government has repeatedly stated that employment is at a record high, whilst unemployment is at an eight year low. Foreign workers are not taking British jobs; they are helping to create them. They should be celebrated, not demonised.

"As employers we also have a duty to ensure our employees are safe. For the Government to single out workers based on their nationality is no different to any other form of discrimination, and this policy would only fuel post-referendum anti-migrant sentiment.

"The Prime Minister cannot claim to be open to trade whilst demonising workers from other countries, nor can she claim to be pro-enterprise when her ministers issue such anti-business rhetoric.

"We as businesses stand with our workers of all nationalities, whether they were born in the UK or not, against any form of discrimination."

The stinging rebuke came after government ministers were forced to rule out making companies "name and shame" foreign workers.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon and Education Secretary Justine Greening insisted the information was aimed at improving government investment in skills training, and said it would never be made public or used for "naming and shaming".

David Cameron's former senior adviser Steve Hilton branded them "divisive, repugnant, and insanely bureaucratic" - a view shared by former education secretary Nicky Morgan.

Asked on Sky News if she would endorse Mr Hilton's view of the policy as repugnant, Ms Morgan said: "Yes, I probably would, actually. I think it's a really inadvisable way to proceed.

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