Theresa May’s plans for a crackdown on immigration after Brexit could cause UK companies to go bust and spark job losses across the country, the head of Britain’s biggest business lobby group has warned.
Carolyn Fairbairn, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said the measures aimed at restricting low-skilled immigration could have unintended consequences, and warned the prime minister against using “derogatory terms” about EU migrants working in Britain.
If greater controls were implemented overnight, she told The House magazine: “[The UK could see] businesses go under and we would lose jobs rather than create jobs for our population.”
Her comments come after May used a speech to the CBI last month to warn that, after Brexit, EU migrants would no longer be able to “jump the queue” to come to Britain.
Fairbairn said business leaders had real concerns about the rhetoric, adding that the government might have underestimated how big a shock it would be for the economy. “Some have equated it to the oil price shock of the 1970s,” she said.
Companies are reporting growing problems hiring staff, with fewer EU migrants coming to Britain since the Brexit vote. Net EU migration to the UK has fallen to the lowest level in six years. [...]
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