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Curbs on migrants slammed

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The government’s community cohesion adviser has issued a last-ditch plea for ministers to rethink draconian limits on non-EU migrant workers.

Ealing LBC chief executive Darra Singh has told LGC that the curbs outlined by the Migration Advisory Committee in its list of jobs open to migrants will have a devastating impact on local government staff shortages.

Mr Singh appealed to local government to voice concerns about the MAC proposals in order to avert staff shortages in social care, planning and trading standards.

The Home Office is expected to make a final decision later this month on the plan which could result in 70,000 less migrants arriving a year.

Mr Singh stated: "I believe that, when adopted, the recommendations in this report will have far-reaching negative implications, particularly in London.

"The ‘recommended shortage occupation list’ does not reflect the very real challenges the local government workforce faces at this time and must be changed."

He went on to accuse the MAC of failing to consult local government or taking into account staff shortages revealed in the Local Government Association’s pay workforce strategy survey.

He was backed by Alan Warner, talent management lead at the Public Sector People Managers’ Association , who said: "Even a small reduction in the labour pool could impact on councils’ ability to provide services that we need."

Rynd Smith, head of policy at the Royal Town Planning Institute , said up to 45% of town planners at some London councils were from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, many of whom could be barred from working.

Sir Steve Bullock (Lab), elected mayor of Lewisham LBC and chair of Local Government Employers , admitted the MAC plans presented a "problem", but said a clear path for lobbying over the issue had yet to emerge.

He added that individual sectors facing problems within local government might be best able to lobby the case for particular jobs individually.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed officials were deciding whether to accept the MAC’s recommendations.

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