Election 2017: Michael Fallon admits Tories do not know the cost of their immigration plans

Defence Secretary claims the idea reflected the party’s “ambition” to cut down on immigration rather than a specific mapped out plan

 

 

Caroline Mortimer
Friday 19 May 2017 12:27
Comments
Michael Fallon says Tories have not costed immigration proposals

Sir Michael Fallon has admitted the Conservatives have not costed out one of their key manifesto promises aimed at reducing immigration by two-thirds.

The Defence Secretary was forced to admit that they did not know how much a proposal to double the Immigration Skills Charge - a levy imposed on organisations for every skilled non-EU worker they hire - would cost the economy.

The proposal is one of a range of measures proposals by the party aimed at of reducing annual migration to the "tens of thousands" - a promise originally made in their 2010 manifesto.

The aim of the Immigration Skills Charge is to force business owners to train up UK workers instead of recruiting the skills they need from abroad.

But critics, including members of the party itself, have criticised the plans. Former small business minister Anna Soubry called it “a tax on successful business”.

Sir Michael claimed the idea reflected the party’s “ambition” to cut down on immigration rather than a specific, mapped out plan, when asked about the proposal on the BBC's Newsnight.

“We haven’t set out a formulation of how much it will reduce by each year, what we’ve set out is our ambition to continue to bear down on immigration," he said. “There has been various academic work done on the cost of immigration."

He added: “We’ve made it clear that we accept there is a cost and we want to make sure that British companies do contribute to the training of British workers when they want to fill that post”.

It follows a similar mishap by former Education Secretary Michael Gove who mixed up several figures on immigration during an interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC.

Mr Gove misstated how large the skills charge was, suggesting it was going up from £2,000 per worker per year to £4,000 per worker per year instead of an increase from £1,000 to £2,000.

He then significantly overstated the number of non-EU workers arriving in the UK annually.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in