Conservatives in ‘much clearer and better position’ to bring down migration than Labour says Minister

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Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride spoke to GB News this morning (Wednesday) about migration and the growing row over the UK’s house building targets.

Speaking to GB News Mr Stride said: “There’s a huge amount that we have to do, and we are particularly working with the French on the illegal migration side of things.”

The minister continued: “In terms of migration more generally, we have made a clear commitment that through time, we will expect and we’ll be seeing migration reducing we’ve had an increase more recently because of course I think we’ve done the right thing with Ukrainian refugees have been almost 150,000 of those that are settled, Afghans and those from Hong Kong , and I think there were very few people that would criticise that.

“As for Keir Starmer, the one thing he hasn’t actually done is to [pledge to] bring down the level of migration over the coming years. We are in that sense in a much clearer and better position.”

In the wake of a rebellion by 47 Conservative MPs linked to the imposition of house-building targets on local authorities which forms part of the Regeneration and Levelling Up Bill.

Mr Stride said: “I think housing is always, as we know, a contentious and difficult area for all political parties. But we’ve had quite a level of success.

“We have built two million new homes since 2010 and we are still committed to 300,000 new builds by the middle of the 2020s. 

“But as to the amendment, I’m sure that’s something that the whips and the government will be considering. But the critical thing is that we do need to have this bill so that we can start to ramp up those targets because there’s a fairness point here.

“It’s only fair and reasonable that particularly younger generations have the opportunity to own and have affordable housing…but we’ll see where that goes. But I’m sure that there’s close engagement now between the back benches and the whip’s office on that point.”

Mr Stride also spoke out about the rail strikes saying: “What we need is central civil engagement and talking particularly from the trade unions rather than rushing into these strikes. The dates that they’ve announced are going to be incredibly disruptive, across the festive period.

“And bear in mind the serious consequences of strikes. People that have medical appointments, have important family engagements to catch up with and so on.

“This is happening at a time when during the pandemic, of course, huge support went into our rail sector and rightly so much of that went to protect the jobs of those that are working there. What we really need is a further discussion between the unions, the employers and Network Rail, to really come up with something that’s fair to taxpayers, fair to the passengers and, critically, which makes sure that the rail industry has a viable and prosperous future.”

On legislation to limit strikes, he added: “Clearly legislation takes time to reach the statute book, but I think we have recognised it and it is in our manifesto. There’s a very, very strong case for that and we intend to deliver on it but as regards the current situation where we are at the moment, I know the Secretary of State for Transport is meeting the leadership of the RMT later this week, and there will be further discussions to be had there.

“But most of what needs to be done here really is between the unions and the training employers and also Network Rail. They really need to be getting down to those discussions and pushing things forward rather than coming out with these strikes at the worst possible time for the general population.”

Source: GB News

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