Labour Party conference: Ed Miliband says he would force firms that hire foreign workers to take on British apprentices

Ed Miliband also pledges to 'crack down' on companies that fail to pay the minimum wage.

Companies will be forced to train a British apprentice for every foreign worker they take on if Labour win the next election, party leader Ed Miliband has said.

Speaking in Brighton, where Labour is holding its party conference, Mr Miliband said the proposal was designed to reduce low-skill immigration and help create a “high wage economy”.

The party's plan would compel firms that hire workers from outside the EU to take on a similar number of apprentices from the UK. It claims that the policy would create up to 125,000 high quality apprenticeships over the next parliament.

“In our first year in office we will legislate for an immigration bill which has secure control of our borders, cracks down on exploitation of workers coming here undercutting workers already here, and says to big companies that bring in people from outside the EU that they can do that, within a cap, but they have got to train the next generation,” Mr Miliband said.

“I think that's the right approach. Why is that so important? It's about making our economy really work for working people in our country and training up our people, that is the way to tackle our standards of living issues that so many families are facing in this country.”

“I do want to get low skill immigration down and therefore overall immigration down, yes.”

Mr Miliband arrived in Brighton with the party's poll lead dwindling and internal critics warning he has failed to set out a clear strategy for the 2015 general election.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Miliband said Labour intended to increase the minimum wage and that his government would “crack down” on companies that failed to pay workers the minimum wage.

On Saturday, Mr Miliband said his government would raise fines for employers who deliberately broke minimum wage legislation from £5,000 to a maximum of £50,000.

“The minimum wage must be set at a level where it is not going to cost jobs, that's really important and so that's what we have got to look at,” he said.

He refused to give any specific figures for the extent of any increase, telling Mr Marr,“I want to see the minimum wage go up over time but if I was coming on this programme and saying I'm just going to pluck out of the air a figure of how much the minimum wage will go up by, you would say 'is that really responsible?'.”

Among a raft of policies being unveiled as his party's annual conference, Mr Miliband has also pledged that a future Labour government would scrap the coalition's so-called “bedroom tax”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Support Engineer

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Support Engi...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Advisor - Opportunities Available Nationwide

£15000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to ...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence