Ed Miliband today challenges the Tories to match the ten clear, credible and concrete steps a new Labour government would take on immigration in its first 100 days.
He will warn that the Tories’ record of failure on immigration – which has seen numbers rise to 300,000 after promising to cut them to less than 100,000 - has damaged public confidence in politics.
And he will he show how Labour’s first 100 days action plan on immigration will strengthen our borders, begin to restore contribution, champion integration, and drive out the exploitation that drives down local wages.
In remarks at a People’s Question Time in the Vale of Glamorgan, Mr Miliband will declare he is determined to restore trust on the issue of immigration by addressing people’s justified concerns with Labour’s first 100 days action plan.
He will underline the principles behind Labour’s changed approach on immigration, saying he will publish an Immigration Bill in the next government’s first Queen’s speech to rebuild public trust, strengthen borders, restore contribution, champion integration and end the exploitation that undercuts wages.
And he will set out the 10 clear, credible and concrete steps Labour will take in its first 100 days to begin taking action on:
- Recruiting an additional 1,000 borders staff, paid for by a small charge on non-visa visitors to the UK.
- Stopping those who have committed serious crimes coming to Britain and deport those who commit them after they arrive.
- Introducing full exit checks, so that we can count people in and out of the country.
- Ending the indefinite detention of people in the asylum and immigration system and uphold our traditions and obligations on refugees.
- Keeping the cap on workers from outside the EU and tightening the rules by requiring large firms hiring workers from outside to offer apprenticeships here.
- Making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers – and enforcing this law with a special 100-strong Home Office unit with investigatory powers.
- Banning recruitment agencies from hiring only from overseas.
- Closing the loophole whereby employers are able to use agency staff as a way to undercut the wages of permanent staff.
- Preventing people who come here from claiming benefits for at least two years or sending child benefit to families living abroad.
- Requiring people working in public services in public facing roles to speak English.
He will say the Tories have already refused to sign up to the majority of these measures, showing that David Cameron’s attempt to re-issue his broken promise at the last election shows he is taking the public for fools.
Mr Miliband will say he offers a clear, credible and concrete plan on immigration – not false promises:
“Immigration can benefit Britain and, as the son of two refugees myself, I will never do anything to denigrate or demean the contribution people who have come to this country have made.
“The next Labour government will build a future that works for working people, a recovery that reaches every part of our country, and we will deal with people’s concerns because we have listened, we have learned and we have changed.
“David Cameron once promised to cut net immigration to tens of thousands – and told us to kick him out of office if he didn’t deliver. But net migration rose to 298,000 last year, almost exactly three times higher than he promised.
“Nothing damages people’s faith in politics more than broken promises like that - or those he is still making today.
“I will only make promises I can keep. I won’t offer false targets or seek to exploit concerns with the politics of fear. Instead, I am offering clear, credible and concrete ways of making a real difference.”
He will set out Labour’s plan for action in the first 100 days after taking office:
“If I am Prime Minister we will begin work immediately to fix our immigration system with a plan founded on fair rules, where wages can’t be undercut and benefits must be earned; a plan where our borders and our communities are strengthened.
“If I am Prime Minister we will act in our first 100 days with an Immigration Bill in our first Queen’s Speech to raise the money needed for another 1,000 borders staff, stop people who have committed serious crimes coming to Britain, and insist large firms bringing in workers from outside the EU to offer apprenticeships here.
“If I am Prime Minister, we will drive out the exploitation that drives up low skill migration and drives down local wages. But I will never turn my back on our traditions of tolerance and being outward-looking to the world, nor on the students and top talent who can help us build future success.”
And he will challenge David Cameron to match Labour’s 100 day plan for action on immigration and show he is serious about tackling people’s concerns.
“Immigration is too important an issue for our country to be abandoned by the Prime Minister so it can be exploited by Nigel Farage.
“We are setting out sensible and practical changes to this system. Today, I challenge the Conservative Party to match our offer, show you are serious on immigration without making false promises or playing the politics of fear.”