Government's immigration cap U-turn could show Cameron as a 'listener'

The Government's more 'relaxed' approach to its immigration cap could show Cameron as a 'listener', a public affairs expert has predicted.

U-turn on immigration: David Cameron
U-turn on immigration: David Cameron

Responding to reports this morning in The Telegraph suggesting the Prime Minister has decided to ‘bow to business leaders’ and increase the current immigration cap from 2,600 non-EU migrants per month to 4,000, senior PROs argue that Cameron could turn the climb-down into a positive.

Prior to the general election, Cameron and the Conservative Party were adamant on the 2,600 cap, but following personal lobbying from senior business people Cameron is understood to be relaxing the quota.
Jon Macleod, chairman at Weber Shandwick, told PRWeek: ‘I think this shows Cameron is a listener who has set private sector-led growth as a priority.
‘Britain desperately needs to attract entrepreneurs and skilled workers to its shores if it is to live up to George Osborne's tag of being "open for business". This move would send exactly the right signal and tell the world that the UK is the right place to want to make a living.’

Other observers noted the Government would have to strike a delicate balance in the tone of their communications around the issue.

Dave McCullough, account director at Insight Public Affairs, added: 'Any relaxation of the cap will cause headaches for the PM with the Tory right, already suspicious of giveaways to their coalition partners. Cameron will have to ensure that he lines up all his support on this one: the business community, the universities and of course his always faithful cover – the Liberal Democrats.'

Nick Williams, head of corporate affairs and corporate communications at Fleishman Hillard, added: 'There has been a highly concerted and effective campaign by major businesses and academics to lessen the impact of the Government's initial immigration cap supported by Boris Johnson and Vince Cable. It now looks as if the Prime Minister has wisely listened to these many concerns and the impact that such a cap would have on UK businesses and the economy itself.

'Having committed the Conservative Party to reducing immigration however he will have to go on the communications offensive to explain this to the wider electorate who may not understand the intricacies of the UK skills requirements for the economy.'

The final cap is officially still being discussed and will be released later this month.

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