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Black Country Chamber President Reacts Angrily to Political Rhetoric on Immigration

Responding to the recent Labour Party announcement to prosecute employers who hire migrant workers on low pay, Black Country Chamber of Commerce President Ninder Johal said: "This announcement is typical of political rhetoric conflating populist views on immigration with anti-employer sentiment.

"The first thing I want to say is that we already have legislation to protect minimum levels of pay for workers. We do not need any more. More efficient management of standards is required not another threat to employers.

"Secondly, we have a long standing skills shortage which successive governments have failed to address. Whilst the tension between government departments, one blindly focused on academic achievement and progression to university and another thinking that increasing numbers of apprenticeships is the answer, we are always going to have a skills problem. Our schools, colleges and universities continue to produce young people who are unemployable. While politicians pander to populist rhetoric rather than the much more difficult task of fixing our education system, employers should be allowed to recruit the skilled people they need from wherever they can find them subject to national employment legislation. I want to hear much more about creating a better educated workforce that will deliver the levels of productivity that this country needs.

"It is a national disgrace that our schools, colleges and universities continue to produce young people who cannot read and write, add up or work with others. It is equally disagreeable that all parties seem to be more inclined to create barriers for businesses to secure skilled staff from anywhere in the world than address our local skills issues.

"Tomorrow's world consists of power relationships that have no regard for heritage. Whilst we appear unwelcoming to inward investment and all that brings we continue to depend on austerity and the erosion of public services this brings. It's a simple choice: focus on the factors that lead to wealth creation or watch the country's economic potential slip away.

"We understand the concerns about business practice following the banking crisis. However to taint all businesses with the same concerns is ridiculous. Without the wealth that our businesses create for their investors, their employees and public services through business rates and taxes, governments will have nothing to spend."

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