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NHS England boss: rethink needed on immigration plans

Simon Stevens, CEO for NHS England Credit: PA

The chief executive of NHS England has warned that government plans to limit immigration need a "rethink" as current plans could harm staffing levels in the health service.

Simon Stevens has called for the government to "join up the dots" on immigration policy and the NHS.

At the Institute of Directors annual convention Mr Stevens said:

My responsibility is to point out that at time when the need for nurses is growing, when publicly funded UK nurse training places will take several years to expand, and when agency staff costs are driving hospital overspends right now, we need to better ‘join up the dots’ on immigration policy and the NHS.

Most nurses I speak to struggle to understand why our immigration rules define ballet dancers as a shortage occupation - but not nursing.

And most hospitals tell me that the idea that we would seriously consider deporting some of our most experienced and committed nurses solely because they’re not earning £35,000 clearly needs a rethink.

– Simon Stevens, NHS England

Theresa May's immigration speech divides opinion

The Home Secretary's speech on immigration to the Conservative Party conference today has divided opinion.

Within minutes of her address, Theresa May had been accused of encouraging division and hatred, with political opponents and business leaders alike saying they were astonished by her "irresponsible" speech.

ITV News spoke with Siarah Grant from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Alp Mehmet from the independent think tank Migration Watch UK, who had opposing views of Mrs May's remarks:

Business leaders hit back at 'irresponsible' Theresa May

Business leaders have hit back at the "irresponsible rhetoric" of Home Secretary Theresa May's speech on immigration at the Conservative Party conference, saying that the "myth of the job-stealing-immigrant is nonsense".

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

We are astonished by the irresponsible rhetoric and pandering to anti-immigration sentiment from the Home Secretary.

It is yet another example of the Home Secretary turning away the world’s best and brightest, putting internal party politics ahead of the country, and helping our competitor economies instead of our own.

The myth of the job-stealing immigrant is nonsense.

Immigrants do not steal jobs, they help fill vital skill shortages and, in doing so, create demand and more jobs.

If they did steal jobs, we wouldn’t have the record levels of employment we currently do.

It is about time the Home Office stopped undermining business and our own Government's efforts to secure productivity growth.

Political leaders should stop vilifying migrants and acknowledge the hugely important contribution they make to this country's economy.

– Simon Walker, Institute of Directors


Lib Dem leader criticises May's 'Nasty Party' speech

The Liberal Democrat leader has criticised Theresa May's speech at the Conservative Party conference.

In a tweet Tim Farron said: "The Tories spent years trying to 'de-toxify' the Nasty Party image that Theresa May gave them. Then she delivers this speech."

May: Immigration control will lead to support for refugees

The Home Secretary has said that tighter immigration controls will lead to more public support for refugees.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Thersea May said:

"Without controlled immigration there will be less public support for taking in refugees. And while we cannot solve every problem in every corner of the world...we do have a moral duty to help people in need. We should play our part."

Questions over May's 'high immigration benefit close to zero' comments

Theresa May has claimed that "the net economic and fiscal effect of high immigration is close to zero" in her speech to the Conservative Party Conference.

Last year a report from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggested that higher net migration reduces pressure on government debt over time and tends to "produce a more beneficial picture" for the Government’s finances.

The NHS would be in "absolutely dire straits" without immigrant workers, an official from the Government spending watchdog told MPs last December.

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