Labour 'apprentice for each foreign worker' scheme


Labour leader Ed Miliband: "It is wrong that millions of people in our country are going out to work, unable to afford to bring up their families."

Labour has said it plans to make large companies train a new apprentice for each skilled worker they hire from outside the EU.

The policy would create up to 125,000 high quality apprenticeships over the next parliament, the party said.

Labour leader Ed Miliband also pledged to increase the minimum wage to help with the cost of living.

He was speaking ahead of the start of the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

The apprenticeship scheme would affect foreign nationals brought in under Tier 2 of the points-based immigration system - those offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker.

Labour said its research had found that many recently created apprenticeships have been for low-quality courses, and demanded that the number of high-quality apprenticeships be doubled.

'Brutish economy'

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Mr Miliband said: "I want a high-wage British economy, not a low-wage brutish economy, and we've got plans to make that happen to drive up skills.

"So we're going to say to any firm who wants to bring in a foreign worker that they also have to train up someone who's a local worker, training up the next generation.

"We think that can create up to 125,000 new apprenticeships over the course of five years. And that is a massive boost in skills for our young people and that is really important."

But business lobbying group the CBI warned that Labour's plan could lead to more red tape.

Neil Carberry, CBI's director for education and skills, said: "We'd like to see more apprentices being taken on and agree that training through schemes such as apprenticeships are the long-term answer to skills shortages.

"However, we'd be concerned these proposals could add to red tape for firms.

"If we want to get more businesses offering more apprentices, it will be crucial to keep bureaucracy to a minimum and to make sure employers are in the driving seat when it comes to targeting funding."

Budget 'black hole'

On Saturday, Mr Miliband said Labour would increase fines for employers who deliberately broke minimum wage laws from £5,000 to a maximum of £50,000.

He told a crowd in Brighton that the national minimum wage was "one of the proudest achievements of the last Labour government" but it was falling behind price rises under the coalition government. He pledged to strengthen it.

If the national minimum wage had risen in line with the cost of living it would be 45p an hour higher than the current level, which is due to rise next month from £6.19 to £6.31, he said.

And he said the housing benefit cut - affecting social tenants in England, Scotland and Wales deemed to have spare bedrooms - would be scrapped.

Also in the Sunday Mirror, former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott wrote that Labour should use the conference to talk about "all the good things" it did in power and how it could repeat that success, rather than reaching out to the Liberal Democrats about a potential coalition.

It comes as Mr Miliband rejected the prospect of former spin doctor Damian McBride - whose new book is being serialised in the Daily Mail - of ever working for Labour again.

Mr McBride resigned in 2009 after he was caught planning to smear senior Conservatives.

Meanwhile, Conservative Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Labour and the Liberal Democrats wanted to "clobber the rich" with tax plans he says would "penalise wealth creators".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    Just read Prescotts comments about the Conference should talk about the good things that happened during their spell in Government. Looks like they will have to cancel a tea break for that to be discussed

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    some one should put up a list of companys who have taken jobs oversea for lower paid workers then we could boycot them. we need to do this not just talk. i do not use any company that uses oversea call centers

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    A new apprentice for each worker taken on from outside the EU?

    It's a con! The deluge of foreigners taking the jobs and straining the infrastructure are from INSIDE the EU.

    Nice try Ed, you don't fool me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I really wish Milliband would stop with his inane ill thought ideas, the guy is clutching at straws and lying through his teeth, he'd give an Asprin a headache

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    What many apprentices need is Experience....They will get it ONLY if the career path they have chosen is the right one and they have a good infrastructure for training.
    Firms that have apprentices in the service sector are only too good at charging full cost for a 2nd or 3rd year apprentice ...and as one poster put it only too happy to get rid of them once they are time served.This needs to Stop.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    Stop importing the immigrants that take all the jobs for the young, why waste money giving out apprenticeships when there will be no jobs for the young at the end of the training, it's ridiculous, look after our own first.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    The issue for the British people is this:

    How much money do I keep in my pocket at the end of the week.

    If I'm paying an unfair share the tax burden because around 1 million people are forced to work secretly in the cash economy, because of frankly racist work permit rules, then I say we have to face the reality they're never leaving so we should grant amnesty tommorow & make them Taxpayers!

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    Anyone suggesting this very thing during Labours time in power would have immediately been labelled as a racist, xenophobe, nationalist, son of Satan and any disparaging label they could scream at you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    From the way that many sensible but critical comments are being marked down, we can assume that the Labour 'researchers' sitting in Brighton with their cup of latte are hard at work on HYS today.

    Note to all - Mr Ed has NOT said apprenticeships for Britons. He has only said "local workers".

    Question to Ed - Please define 'local worker'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    This is a potential policy, introduced in a short article by the Beeb. Of course it isn't going to be full of detail at this stage. In principle? A good idea. People objecting to it? Are probably doing so because they have a vested agenda. This would be a good policy whichever party introduced it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Why has the emphasis changed from training our own people to training those from overseas. This is from a party that wants to cut down the number of foreign nationals coming to this country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    I've just wasted 20 minutes of my life listening to Miliband on the Andrew Marr show. How pathetic is he? Why does he put himself through those interviews? He didn't answer one question. I remain open minded about the next election but I don't envisage voting for him

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    2 Hours ago

    Seems reasonable, certainly a better idea than any Tory has come up with.
    I'm guessing you aren't in work? All the foreign workers relevant to apprenticeships in the companies I've worked for are from the EU, and, guess what, Ed is not going to count EU workers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    195. Yes but that 'big business' is still providing jobs. We are very lucky that so-called 'big businesses' still choose to operate from the UK, moaning and whinging is just counter productive and in the end achieves nothing. 217. Yes and the way to do that is at the ballot box, it is about time this Lab/Con monopoly was given a real bloody nose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    All well and good...but!

    Where are the jobs for these apprentices? And what about the long term older unemployed?

    Outside of a few foreign owned manufacturing plants and a few niche British ones (mainly IT), what does Britain make!

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.


    Ed recognises a soundbite

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    The CBI is a joke - they do nothing for Britain - just feather the nests of their peers.It's neoliberal lobby groups like this that have undermined Team PAYE and helped reinforce the power base of the Hedgiecorpmediabaron alliance pulling Cameron's strings.

    #131 Where did Miliband imply that apprentice payments would have to meet min £ criteria? His focus is on the quality of the type of work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    Yet more political claptrap from the opposition this time, but whichever party talks like this, you can be sure that all it is, is yet another formula for "adjusting the figures" to make themselves look good in the eyes of the voting public! Lies, Damn Lies, & Politicals with their mouths open! Bah, humbug!

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    This is a sensible idea and shows that Ed recognises the link viz: every job not given to a Brit results in another skill being lost. Our young people are very talented and need these opportunities to grow whiilst recognising that a lower income now will result in greater financial benefits later. gets my support

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    Gordon Brown's master stroke was to move the Bank of England outside of the control of short term politics.

    So you want to see fast and easy cash, soaring houses prices, unaffordable homes and a banking crash transferred over to the education system?
    Taking political responsibility out of the BoE was not a masterstroke for long term economic stability


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