BCC slams Labour’s ‘apprentice for each foreign worker’ scheme

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has criticised the Labour’s plan to introduce an 'apprentice tax'.

Labour leader Ed Miliband recently revealed plans to make large companies train a new apprentice for each skilled worker they hire from outside the EU.

Mr. Miliband told the Sunday Mirror: "I want a high-wage British economy, not a low-wage brutish economy, and we've got plans to make that happen to drive up skills. So we're going to say to any firm who wants to bring in a foreign worker that they also have to train up someone who's a local worker, training up the next generation.”

Mr. Miliband said the policy would create up to 125,000 new apprenticeships over the next five years. “And that is a massive boost in skills for our young people and that is really important," he said.

Reacting to the Labour’s 'apprentice for each foreign worker' scheme, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "This is an 'apprentice tax' on employers and job creation. It serves neither to control immigration, where we should have a points system linked more strongly to economic benefit, nor young people, who should be encouraged and properly supported rather than being used to control immigration by other means.”

He said it was important for businesses to be able to choose the needed talents and resource, which sometimes they cannot find in the UK. “This immigration benefits Britain. Penalising good companies by making the grant of a work permit conditional on taking on a UK apprentice just raises business costs and new red tape,” Mr. Longworth said.

He went on to say that: "There are far better ways to support employers to take on and train our young people. Let's talk about the need for work skills in our schools, and incentives for companies taking on apprentices. And let's talk about a proper points-based system to control levels of migration while ensuring we get the top-level skills we need to be competitive."

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