British workers for British jobs says Brown
By George Jones, Toby Helm and Graeme Wilson
Last Updated: 1:39am BST 07/06/2007
Gordon Brown promised yesterday to launch a drive to train thousands of unemployed workers for jobs currently being filled by immigrants flocking to Britain.
The Chancellor put a new emphasis on “Britishness” at the heart of his programme for government when he takes over from Tony Blair in three weeks' time.
“It is time to train British workers for the British jobs that will be available over the coming few years and to make sure that people who are inactive and unemployed are able to get the new jobs on offer in our country,” Mr Brown told the GMB union.
Mr Brown said he wanted to sign partnerships with all the major industries that they would help British workers to access the jobs that were available.
The Government has faced growing complaints that a new wave of immigrants from countries such as Poland and Romania is driving down wages and reducing job opportunities for domestic workers.
Mr Brown's officials said that Employment Partnerships were being established by the Government with businesses in the retail, hotels, hospitality and security sectors, as well as the Olympic Delivery Authority, to provide support for up to 200,000 unemployed individuals to find work.
The Olympic Delivery Authority would work with its contractors and suppliers so that employment opportunities are made available through Jobcentre Plus for unemployed people in London and the South East with the first 500 jobs likely to be advertised from this autumn onwards.
It is estimated that the Olympics will create more than 7,500 construction jobs.
Two senior Labour ministers called yesterday called for a national “Britain Day” to be created to promote pride in our country and prevent communities fracturing under the weight of unprecedented immigration.
The day of national celebration should be the centrepiece of plans to accelerate the “citizenship revolution” in Britain, said Ruth Kelly, the Communities Secretary, and Liam Byrne, the Home Office minister.
In a move which will dismay traditionalists, they argued the national day – based broadly on the approach adopted in Australia – could coincide with the annual State Opening of Parliament in the autumn.
They added that the day could be accompanied by a US-style State of the Nation address by the Prime Minister, a development which critics fear would overshadow the Queen's historic statement to Parliament.
The ministers' envisage immigrants being issued with “good neighbour contracts” which set out their rights and duties in their new home.
Foreigners applying to become British citizens would be required to “win” citizenship points – earning credits for civic or voluntary work and losing credits if they broke the law or spent too long abroad.
The plans were criticised as little more than a stunt by David Davis, the shadow home secretary. Meanwhile David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said that Britain had failed to create a sense of common identity accepted by all its citizens.
Mr Cameron warned that Britain was facing a growing problem of “cultural separatism'' where the next generation of British Muslims were more separate from mainstream opinion than their parents.
He told a conference on Islam in London that 31 per cent of Muslims in this country felt they had more in common with Muslims abroad than with non-Muslims in Britain.
“There is something much deeper at work here: A feeling of alienation. A disillusionment with life in this country.”
Mr Cameron said it was vital to address this “alarming indictment” on the cultural separation in Britain today.
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