Home secretary welcomes EU migrant workers

The expected influx of foreign workers from Eastern Europe should be
welcomed into the UK because they are desperately needed by UK businesses, the
Home Secretary has claimed.

David Blunkett said that far from restricting the number of employees coming
from the new EU member states, the UK should be viewing them as a positive sign
of a growing economy.

He said that parts of the UK – including London, the South East and Scotland
– were crying out for more workers, because of the high employment rate and
demographic problems.

Ten new member states will join the EU on 1 May, but some nations, including
Germany and France, have decided to prevent migrants working over fears they
could be flooded with cheap labour.

John Phillpot, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development, said the Government was right to allow freedom of movement because
the economy needed the influx of labour.

He also said the numbers of people coming to England from countries such as
Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic would not be as high as expected.

"The number of migrants has probably been exaggerated, but the country
does need more labour," he said. "The UK economy is unusual because
we can’t fill skills shortages, but as a service economy, there are also many
low-skilled roles available."

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