The CBI and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have responded to David Cameron’s recent speech outlining measures to curb immigration.

The IoD warned that businesses can no longer ignore the “genuine disquiet” felt in many parts of the country about pressure on hospitals and schools. Its director-general, Simon Walker, said: “It is important that all immigrants come to the UK with a purpose and a willingness to contribute productively in the community.”

Mr Walker endorsed the prime minister’s point that the level of welfare benefits provided to immigrants is significantly higher in the UK than in Germany or France. The IoD, he said, wishes to see the UK economy benefiting from able and hard-working European workers, without extending “an already debilitating benefits culture to those entering the country”.

Employers often turn to the professional contracting community when faced with skills shortages, which of course means more ‒ and better-paid ‒ assignments for Umbrella Company employees and other freelancers; however, many businesses are now encountering significant skills shortages that the contractor army is simply not large enough to plug.

This was the point emphasised by CBI director-general Katja Hall in response to the speech. She said: “Freedom of movement to work is essential to businesses getting access to the best talent and equally offers British citizens the chance to take up a job anywhere across the EU. Businesses agree that we must ensure the system rewards those here to work, not the few who do not contribute. But the EU matters to the future of British jobs and growth so we must work with allies to secure reform.”

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