Councillor David Williams, Leader of the Green Group on Oxfordshire County Council, has condemned the Prime Minister, Theresa May, for her recent speech on refugees and migration to the United Nations. It is very clear that this country desperately needs the skills that economic migrants and refugees can offer.
David Williams comments:
There is absolutely no compassion in the current Government's attitude to refugees: they want to decrease the very few who reach the UK, whilst still supplying arms to dictatorships, or even engaging in bombing countries like Syria, both actions which create even more displaced people and refugees.
Today, we have freedom of movement with the European Union which helps to address skills shortages in the UK. However, the Government is committed to ending freedom of movement as part of the Brexit negotiations, restricting access by non-EU nationals to the UK and reducing entry by those claiming asylum. A limited list of those skills in which we have shortages would be as follows: carpenters; consultants for hospitals in a wide variety of specialisms; electricians; engineers; family doctors (GPs); farmers; junior doctors; medical and dental technicians; nurses; physicists of various types; plasterers; plumbers; radiographers; school teachers; science, technology and mathematics specialists.
David Williams adds:
Theresa May believes there is some magically-derived ability somewhere to distinguish between asylum seekers and economic migrants. This is wholly unrealistic. However, it is also irrelevant given the huge range of skills we need, throughout the country. Unless the Government changes its approach to freedom of movement from the EU and to investment in all forms of education and training in this country, our ageing labour force will create new skills shortages to add to those which already exist, with considerable damage to many sectors of employment here in Oxfordshire.