Government ditches plans to 'name and shame' businesses with foreign staff
Justine Greening announces policy will not be rolled out – but information on overseas staff will still be collected
Home Secretary Amber Rudd's plans to force businesses to publish the number of foreign workers they employ have been abandoned.
Rudd (pictured) unveiled plans to force companies to publish the percentage of overseas staff on their books at the Conservative Party conference last week, saying foreign workers should not be able to "take the jobs that British people should do".
The policy was met with "a chorus of disapproval", says The Guardian, with David Cameron's former adviser, Steve Hilton, likening it to tattooing foreign workers "with numbers on their forearms".
However, in a dramatic policy U-turn, Education Secretary Justine Greening announced yesterday the plans were to be scrapped and that while the information would still be gathered, businesses would not be forced to publish it. Instead, she said, the government would use the information to highlight skill shortages.
"There will be absolutely no naming and shaming," she said on ITV's Peston on Sunday.
Her words were echoed by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon on BBC Radio Five Live.
"What I can absolutely rule out is that we will not be asking companies to list or publish or name or identify in any way the number of foreign workers they have," he said.
"We're going to consult with business - and the consultation document hasn't even been published yet - on how we can do more to encourage companies, to incentivise them, to look first at the British labour market and to offer these jobs to British people, which is what the British people would expect, before they import labour more cheaply from abroad."
Describing it as a "humiliating climb-down" for Rudd, East Sussex's The Argus suggests the policy reversal comes after criticism from within the Conservative Party.
Nevertheless, the revised plans remain a cause for concern for some. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the forced gathering of information on foreign workers was still unacceptable, even if the lists are not made public.