Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning From 17 September 2010

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on: immigration and phone hacking allegations.


Asked if the Business Secretary, Vince Cable had been slapped down for saying that the government’s temporary cap on skilled migrants from outside the UK would be damaging for British businesses, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that this issue had come up during the recent visit to India, and the Prime Minister had said at the time that it was perfectly understandable for the Business Secretary to raise the concerns of business regarding immigration policy.

Asked if there was anything going on in terms of addressing businesses’ concerns about the immigration policy, the PMS said that there was an interim cap in place and we would introduce a new annual cap next year.  We were currently consulting with businesses and others on the way that should be implemented.  We were keen to ensure that the brightest and best could continue to come to the UK, whilst meeting the government’s commitment to bring down the level of net immigration to the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands seen in recent years.

Put that the economy was at the heart of our domestic policy and asked what could be more important than addressing the concerns of businesses to ensure that growth continued, the PMS said that our economic policy was clear: we wanted to get the economy moving again and for Britain to be an excellent place to do business.  There was a clear coalition policy on immigration: the government believed that the country could benefit from migration but not uncontrolled migration.  We would look at how the cap was implemented and endeavour to ensure that the best people were able to work in the UK.

Put that the immigration policy was doing huge damage to the British economy, the PMS said that he didn’t think there was evidence that it was doing huge damage to the UK economy, as the journalist put it.  The Business Secretary had said that some businesses had raised concerns, and we would take the concerns into account in the implementation of the immigration policy.

Asked if the PMS was disputing the Business Secretary’s evidence from businesses, the PMS said that the Business Secretary had said that some businesses had raised concerns, and this was not being disputed.

Asked if the Prime Minister needed to remind his Ministers of collective responsibility in government, the PMS said that it was normal for there to be discussions on these issues.

Put that not enough people were leaving the UK according to recent figures, the PMS said that our policy was designed to bring down the levels of net migration into the country from the hundreds of thousands in recent years, to the tens of thousands.

Phone Hacking Allegations

Put that the former Deputy Prime Minister had said that he was considering seeking a judicial review into the alleged hacking of some MPs’ phones, the PMS said that the position remained as set out by the Home Secretary in the House; the right thing for the government to do was to allow the police to get on with their job.