Party accused of racism as it pledges raft of punitive measures
TORIES were accused of racism yesterday and trying to pander to the far-right by proposing policies to reduce immigration, charge firms more to hire migrant workers and increase the amount migrants must pay to use the NHS.
The Conservative Party pledged in its new manifesto to cut immigration to tens of thousands of people in a desperate appeal to Ukippers.
This comes after former Tory chancellor George Osborne, now editor of the London Evening Standard, published an editorial on Wednesday saying that the previous target figure of 100,000 should have been scrapped after the party repeatedly failed to meet the pledge made in two previous manifestos.
He added that no Conservative senior Cabinet ministers had supported it.
The target was missed by over 100,000 last year with net migration to Britain reaching 273,000.
The new manifesto revealed yesterday also states that the party will increase the “immigration health surcharge” to £600 for migrant workers and £450 for international students.
Currently migrant workers must pay £200 per year and students £150 in order to use the NHS.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Cabinet was “completely united” behind PM Theresa May’s plans.
He also defended Tory plans to double the cost for businesses — from £1,000 to £2,000 a year — if they hire workers on skilled visas from outside the EU.
Stand up to Racism co-convener Sabby Dhalu said: “The Tories look set to make employers pay more to hire migrant workers, while making migrants pay more to use the NHS. This shows that the Tories will go to any level to win Ukip voters to their side.
“These kind of dog-whistle policies on migrants, despite the key role they play in our society, is all about pandering to racism.
“This kind of scapegoating points the finger of blame for low wages and overstretched services at migrants and not the real culprits — the employers and government who have delivered years of austerity.”