British business secretary bats for liberal immigration policy

July 28th, 2010 - 12:41 am ICT by IANS  

David Cameron By Venkata Vemuri
London, July 27 (IANS) Even as British Prime Minister David Cameron begins his first official visit to India, his Business Secretary Vince Cable created a controversy by saying he preferred a more liberal immigration policy for non-EU workers than the government was currently adopting.

Talking to the media before heading for New Delhi at Heathrow airport Tuesday, Cable, a Liberal Democrat minister in the coalition government, said he wanted a liberal policy as opposed to the Conservative line of a tougher one.

A blog in Financial Times reported the news, saying Cable “has risked opening a new split within the coalition by admitting that he wants to have a more liberal immigration policy”, and that too, on the eve of Cameron’s India visit.

Cable said India has already conveyed to Britain that the cap should be reviewed if the latter were to attract more foreign investment then. They (India) are right to make the point, he added.

The London Evening Standard splashed Cable’s comments quoting him as saying: “It’s no great secret that in my department and me personally, we want to see an open economy, and as liberal an immigration policy as it’s possible to have. We believe that because it’s good for growth and good for the British economy.”

He also said: “But we’re trying to reconcile two different objectives, one of which is to reassure the British public that immigration is under control, and the other is to have an open economy where we can bring in talents from around the world.”

(Venkata Vemuri can be contacted at venkata.v@ians.in)

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