A Scotland-only policy for migrants
Published on 18 Jan 2010
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, is considering proposing a Scotland-only immigration policy so specific labour shortages north of the border could be filled by foreign workers.
Both Labour and the LibDems yesterday dismissed the Conservative plan for an annual cap on UK immigration as unnecessary and implausible.
David Cameron, the Tory leader, has indicated he wants to limit net immigration to tens of thousands a year to prevent the population reaching 70 million and straining public services.
A poll of 57 key marginal constituencies, carried out for pressure group Migrationwatch, found 44% of voters in Labour-held swing seats would be more likely to back the Conservatives if they promised a 50,000 annual immigration limit.
However, Mr Clegg said: An annual cap wont work. It doesnt reflect the different needs of the country. He suggested a policy could be tailored to take into account the specific needs of different parts of the UK.
I was in the Borders of Scotland yesterday where I know some industries are crying out for more people to come to the area to work and yet thats not the case in the south-east, which is a more crowded part of the country, he told the BBC.
The Liberal Democrat leader highlighted the
Australian version, which allows migrants to work in only one part of the country and not another.
It is relatively easy when people register to work, that they do so with local authorities, so that you know who is working where, he said.
Mr Clegg added that the authorities could easily ensure people only worked where they should work so long as migrants abided by the rules.