The government has abandoned plans to force businesses to reveal how many foreign staff they employ, following widespread condemnation and accusations that the policy was akin to tattooing workers “with numbers on their forearms”.
Justine Greening, the education secretary, announced on Sunday that companies will not be made to publish the data as suggested by the home secretary, Amber Rudd, during the Conservative party conference.
She said the information would be confidential and instead used by the government to identify skills shortages, rather than to “name and shame” businesses that rely on foreign employees.
Last week, Rudd unveiled plans to force companies to reveal how many foreign staff they employ, to a chorus of disapproval. She said foreign workers should not be able to “take the jobs that British people should do” and announced proposals to make companies publish the proportion of “international staff on their books”.
However, in an apparent U-turn on the policy, Greening told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “This is not data that will be published. There will be absolutely no naming and shaming.
“This is about informing policy so that we understand which areas and parts of the country there are skills shortages, evidenced by the fact that employers are not taking local workers as much as they might do. It then enables us really to tailor policy in those areas so we can respond to that.”
And so ends one of the most bizarre and contemptible policies ever launched. In one quick step the Tories moved from controls on immigration to an extraordinary focus on people who are (quite legally) already here. And this from a Government that – in theory – wants to encourage foreign investment.
This says it all: The Tories have finally become Ukip