.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, March 14, 2016

'Let them pick fruit'?

Marie Antoinette was clearly too focused on cake, at least that is one conclusion that can be drawn from this gem of a story in former Lib Dem Cabinet Minister, David Laws' memoirs.

According to the Telegraph, David Laws claims that the-then-Tory Cabinet Minister, Owen Patterson suggested easing migration pressures by abolishing the agricultural workers scheme, which allowed migrants from Romania and Bulgaria to work in the UK and enlist retired people to do their jobs instead:

Extracts published in the Mail on Sunday claim the suggestion "stunned" even the "more right wing" senior Tories around the Cabinet table.

Mr Laws wrote: "Someone suggested that while abolishing the scheme might reduce immigration, it could also be very unpopular with farmers, who would no longer find it easy to employ cheap labour for back-breaking outdoor work. 'Oh, but I've thought of that', said Paterson. 'I think I have the answer. We'll try to get more British pensioners picking some of the fruit and vegetables in the fields instead.'

"One of the officials taking notes looked up in surprise, clearly thinking she had heard incorrectly. She hadn't. And Paterson hadn't finished. 'Of course, getting British pensioners to do this work could lead to an increase in farmers' costs,' he said. 'After all, they may be a bit slower doing the work. I've thought of that too. I think we might arrange to exempt British pensioners from the minimum-wage laws, to allow them to do this work.'

"Cabinet colleagues, even the more right-wing Conservatives, listened in stunned silence. The official now realised she had indeed heard correctly, and tried, unsuccessfully, to stifle a laugh."

Mr. Patterson denies the story.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?