'This is the fault of your members and no-one else!': Iain Dale confronts CBI VP over UK reliance on overseas workers

23 November 2022, 15:38 | Updated: 23 November 2022, 17:05

Iain Dale challenges CBI Vice President

By Hannah Holland

Iain Dale challenged the Vice President of the CBI, Lord Karan Bilimoria, insisting that the CBI have deprived UK workers of "training" and "skills" and "have not paid enough" to workers.

In his show on Tuesday, Iain Dale expressed his belief that the CBI “had a bit of cheek” by “blaming the government” for the UK’s reliance on overseas workers.

He continued: “Surely it’s down to CBI members who haven’t been paying the wages that they need to pay, haven’t been investing in skills and training.”

Lord Bilimoria responded that without the “contribution” of the “15% of ethnic minorities” in the UK, “Britain wouldn’t be the sixth largest economy in the world”.

“Good immigration has always been good for this country", he added.

Iain Dale says that 'for too long' British industry has relied on 'cheap foreign workers'

On Tuesday, Keir Starmer addressed the CBI conference, telling business leaders that the days of "cheap labour" must end to wean the UK off its "immigration dependency”.

The speech came at a time when businesses are calling for more overseas workers to boost economic growth.

In his opening monologue, Iain sided with the Shadow Leader, saying that “for too long, British industry has relied on cheap foreign workers”, arguing that British workers should be paid more to fill shortages.

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After describing the labour shortages that exist “across the board” in this country, Lord Bilimoria said: “Here’s the solution - The Migration Advisory Committee needs to be completely revamped.”

He explained that The Migration Advisory Committee, the body that advises the government on migration issues, must look “sector by sector” to find out exactly which workers are needed from overseas.

He said: “We’re going through enough as businesses. We’ve had the pandemic. We’ve had the Ukraine war. We’ve got a cost of living crisis. We’ve got inflation."

"How much can business take?”, he asked before adding: “This is not about not paying them enough.”

“No, it is”, Iain interjected.

Iain explained: “It is about not paying enough. Traditionally we have not paid enough particularly to lower paid workers in this country. They haven't had the training they need. They haven't got the skills they need...That is the fault of your members and no-one else!"

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