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Boris Johnson challenges Theresa May on the immigration cap, fearing damage to the UK economy

By Jonathan Isaby

Boris Johnson in Manchester With the next London mayoral election coming in 2012 - two years into the Government's term and at a time when the cuts are biting - the Conservative seeking re-election (as I fully Boris Johnson to be doing) will undoubtedly be seeking to distance himself from elements of government policy.

For example, he has generally taken a more Right-wing attitude on tax than the Conservative leadership over the last couple of years, but a more liberal position on immigration.

It is on this latter issue that he has again put himself at odds with government policy. Channel 4 News reported tonight that he has warned Home Secretary Theresa May that the Government's cap on immigration is "likely to have a significant negative and disproportionate impact on London" and "put the economic recovery at risk by creating skills gaps and placing London at a competitive disadvantage in the global competition for talent and inward investment".

The report is based on the London Mayor's submission to the Home Office consultation on the matter.

Channel 4 News continues:

He says that the economic harm of limiting the number of workers from outside the European Union (EU) "would be substantial given their vital contribution to UK economy, and disproportionately felt in London given their concentration in the capital".

He also argues that leading businesses are "unanimous in their opposition and hostile to the proposal", adding: "They warn that the limit will damage small, medium and large  businesses, prevent inward investment, talent and trade opportunities coming to London, and thereby materially damage London's competitiveness".

The mayor believes the interim cap on numbers is "already causing businesses significant recruitment problems", and he concludes that "a major rethink of government policy is required".


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