Responding to today’s migration figures from the Office of National Statistics, which show that the number of EU citizens coming to work in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 2004, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
“Now more than ever, we should be celebrating the enormous contributions that workers from all over the world make to our NHS and social care. We should welcome those who want to come here and be part of rebuilding Britain. But the nasty rhetoric from Priti Patel and her Conservative colleagues has made too many EU citizens feel unwelcome in the UK.
“That is both shameful and hugely damaging to our economy, our society and our public services. With the NHS facing a shortage of 40,000 nurses and social care also badly understaffed, we desperately need to be able to recruit people from elsewhere in Europe.
“Priti Patel’s wrongheaded immigration plans will make things even worse, at a time when British employers can least afford it. If the Conservatives press ahead with these plans, they will deal a massive new blow to the NHS and businesses across the country, just as the economy is beginning to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
“That’s why Liberal Democrats are opposing the Conservatives’ damaging immigration plans and arguing instead for a fair, effective and compassionate immigration system that works for our economy and treats everyone with the dignity they deserve.”