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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Employers say cutting EU immigration will backfire

There is a sensible contribution from employers today to the debate on EU immigration with EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, calling for an end to the “misinformation and paranoia” it says is dominating the debate over Britain’s future in Europe.

The EEF joins the CBI in defending the EU’s free movement principle, as Mr Cameron pledges to make reform of it his key demand when he seeks new membership terms ahead of the in/out referendum he has promised in 2017.

The Independent says that Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the manufacturers’ body, will say in a speech tomorrow: “For too long now the debate about our future in the EU has been hijacked, and some would say driven by, a powerful political vested interest, which is to extract Britain from the EU, without any recognition of what that rupture would cost. They must not be allowed to prevail.”

Mr Scouler will express fears that the UK debate will focus on immigration, which is “dogged by misinformation, and in some cases a good dose of paranoia as well.”  He will insist: “Britain has a yawning skills gap, and this will widen in the next five to 10 years as highly skilled employees retire. We need and want employees from other European nations   and indeed from other parts of the world - in this country,  making a contribution, paying tax and supporting our economy.”

Katja Hall, the CBI’s deputy director general, said: “Businesses recognise that free movement of workers within the EU is a sensitive issue but are clear that it is an essential part of the single market. It boosts the attraction of investing in the UK, creates jobs and offers firms here real benefits in working with our biggest trading partners

The danger is of course that the best interests of the country will be lost in the scrabble to neutralise UKIP. That should not be allowed to happen.
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