Tuesday, 01 May 2018 14:03

UK MINISTER FOR BUSINESS ‘MUST TAKE ACTION NOW’ TO PROTECT WORKFORCES

The SNP's Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) spokesperson at Westminster Drew Hendry MP has called for a differential approach to immigration to protect Scottish businesses –  and has said the UK Government ‘must take action now’ to protect workforces.
 

Drew Hendry MP asked the BEIS Ministers about the future of the EU workforce stressing that tourism businesses are already facing staffing shortfalls because of the uncertainty around EU citizens, and they face a future recruitment crisis if different migration rules are not applied in Scotland.
 
The SNP MP also asked for assurances that employers would not be subjected to an immigration skill charge for EU workers in the future. Charges of up to £1000 are currently levied at businesses for the recruitment of every worker from outside the EU area. The Scottish Government have already called for a review of this charging system, calling it ‘burdensome’ for employers.
 
The UK Government has yet to rule out a similar charge for recruiting EU workers after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
 
Drew Hendry MP commented:
 
“Securing the right of EU staff to remain in the UK is vital, yet we see little efforts from the UK Government to secure those current and future workforces. With the clock ticking, the uncertainty continues and that is unacceptable. The Tories must take action now to protect workforces.  
 
“45% of Scottish tourism and leisure businesses employ EU staff in their workforce, and as we approach the summer season they need answers to secure workers, who now see the UK as a bad choice for work.
 
“In my own Highland constituency, tourism accounts for one fifth of the economy and businesses are already noticing a drop off in EU citizens wanting to come to the UK for work.
 
“The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Secretary of State has responsibility for the economy in all nations of the UK and he cannot sit back while the uncertainty around EU workers leaves Scottish employers struggling for staff.
 
“The Scottish Affairs Committee, the Home Affairs Committee report and the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords, all see the sense of a differentiated immigration system for Scotland. The Secretary of State must now represent the concerns of Scottish businesses and join our calls for a differentiated migration policy for Scotland.”
 

Questions put to Secretary of State by Mr Hendry (1 May 2018)
 
Video Clip: https://www.facebook.com/DrewHendrySNP/videos/2103376333036352/
 
Text:
 
1) The FSB has already said that securing the right of EU staff to remain in the UK is vital. In Scotland, 45% of tourism and leisure businesses have EU staff in their workforce. They are concerned they will not be able to recruit For their future needs and that fear is heightened by the possibility of the costly immigration skills charge - currently up to £1000 per year - being applied. Can the Secretary of State categorically assure employers that they will not be subjected to any charge for EU workers post Brexit?
 
2) The Scottish Affairs Committee, the Home Affairs Committee report and the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords, all see the sense of a differentiated immigration system for Scotland. Can the Secretary of State confirm that he accepts there is a clear case for a differentiated Policy that recognises the different needs of businesses in Scotland?
 
Additional comments for use :
 
Mr Vastano is the Owner Chef Director at la Taverna Restaurant in Aviemore. He agrees that action is urgently needed.
 
“As a local employer, I have a workforce of 45 and 40 of them are EU citizens. Without their input and talent our business would not be the success it is today.
 
“For the past ten or more years, we have benefited from an influx of young people choosing to make Scotland their home. They have worked hard, contributed to our community, got married and many have children in the local school. This whole situation has forced them to think in the short term, which means as an employer I now face the prospect of losing long standing valuable members of my team. 
 
“Meanwhile, other young EU citizens who would normally look to Scotland for employment are now looking elsewhere, like Holland and Denmark. Who can blame them, the uncertainty is hardly welcome environment.”
 
“The whole Brexit situation has left businesses facing the prospect of losing valuable staff and the future workforce to replace them. How on earth is any business supposed to operate without  workers?’’

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