Work Sec: 'Give Brits Jobs, Not Migrants'
5:03am 1st July 2011
(Updated 1:04pm 2nd July 2011)
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has issued a plea to businesses to take on jobless British youths - rather than migrant workers.
In a speech the former Conservative Party leader said the Government's attempts to cut unemployment are doomed to fail unless immigration is brought under control.
He quoted new figures suggesting that more than half of new jobs are now being taken by foreigners.
Mr Duncan Smith called on businesses to recruit jobless British workers, rather than taking on immigrants.
"Good immigration is managed immigration - it should not be an excuse to import labour to take up posts which could be filled by people already in Britain.
"Controlling immigration is critical or we will risk losing another generation to dependency and hopelessness."
His comments, in a speech to the Spanish Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies thinktank (FAES) in Madrid, appear to echo Gordon Brown's promise of "British jobs for British workers".
The former PM's 2007 pledge was widely criticised - not least by Conservatives - when it emerged that around 80% of the jobs created during Labour's time in power went to migrants.
But official figures unearthed by Labour MP Frank Field show 87% of the 400,000 jobs created over the first year of the coalition went to workers from abroad.
Mr Duncan Smith said: "We have to ensure that our immigration system works in the interests of Britain, enabling us to make a realistic promise to our young school-leavers.
"It is part of our contract with the British people.
"This Government is reforming welfare to make work pay, and to help people back to work.
"We are toughening sanctions against those who refuse to take jobs when they are available.
"But we also need an immigration system that gives the unemployed a level playing field.
"If we do not get this right then we risk leaving more British citizens out of work, and the most vulnerable group who will be the most affected are young people."