Firms have a 'social duty' to hire British workers, says Conservative minister Matthew Hancock
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Friday 26 July 2013
Companies have a "social duty" to employ young British workers rather than better-qualified immigrants, a Conservative minister said today.
Matthew Hancock, a Business Minister, said employers have a responsibility to ensure young people in their local community are given the opportunity to get a job and get on in life. He said firms should invest in training British staff rather than simply seeking "pure profit".
Mr Hancock, a close ally of the Chancellor George Osborne, denied he was repeating Gordon Brown's ill-fated "British jobs for British workers" slogan. "This is about a change of culture. I'm arguing that it is companies' social responsibility, it is their social duty, to look at employing locally first," he told BBC Radio 4. "That may mean that they have to do more training. It may mean more training in hard skills, in specific skills. Or it may mean training in the wherewithal, the character you need in order to hold down a job."
He said many employers had told him that such an investment led to more motivated employees with a greater attachment to the company.
Mr Hancock added: "During the last boom there was a lot of recruitment from abroad and, in fact, youth unemployment went up, even during the boom. As the amount of jobs in the economy grows everybody should be given the chance to get on in life and get one."
His comments comes amid fears among Conservative MPs about a new influx of workers from Romania and Bulgaria when they get the right to work in Britain from next January.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, dismissed the minister's intervention as "totally, utterly meaningless rubbish". He said: "He is not allowed to put the interests of British workers first because we are members of the European Union and 800,000 British jobs are today being advertised across the whole of the rest of the EU."
Mr Farage added: "They [the Conservatives] know they have lost the argument on immigration and jobs, they know Ukip have stolen a march on them, they are attempting through rhetoric to take that territory back. They are raising expectations, but when people realise that actually they cannot deliver, then I think a lot of people will feel very angry indeed."
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 5 New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...
£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...