Chelsea FC boss endorses economic migration

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The chief executives of Carphone Warehouse and Chelsea FC gave their backing yesterday to the Government's liberal policy on economic migration.

Charles Dunstone, the head of the high street retailer, and Peter Kenyon, in charge of the current leaders of the football Premier League, said allowing workers into the UK brought economic benefits.

Their comments came as a survey for a right-wing think-tank Migrationwatch UK found more than three-quarters of Britons wanted to see an annual limit on immigration. The two companies, which operate at diverse parts of the labour market, appeared to back the current open stance on economic migration.

Mr Dunstone, whose company employs 12,000 in stores, support services, call centres and direct sales, said phenomena such as the influx of Poles into the building trade was good for that sector and for the economy in general as they spent money in the UK.

"On balance allowing people to work within the UK is very positive for our economy, which has a free and open labour market," he said during a debate at the British Chambers Of Commerce annual conference.

Mr Kenyon said Chelsea had a policy of running a "core" of English footballers in its squad but that the influx of money from television rights had opened up that market to foreign players. He added: "Stopping people coming in won't produce more English footballers. It has become a global marketplace for talent."

George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, said: "Immigration has brought enormous economic and cultural benefits but people object to a lack of controls at the borders."

Alan Johnson, the Trade and Industry Secretary, said the UK's openness to the free movement on both capital and labour had benefited the economy.