Annual review of the ending of free movement in the United Kingdom

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art, Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art 11:15 am, 5th March 2019

I thank the hon. Member for that intervention. I am perfectly happy for schemes to be called whatever they like; the fact is that we have to support nurses properly as they are training. The general point that I want to make, while accepting her experience of what sounds like a really good scheme, is that the general thrust of Government policy has not supported the training of staff for our national health service in recent times, and that has to change.

I will make one final specific point on this issue before I close, and it is about the social care sector. As the hon. Member has just mentioned, nurses are incredibly important and we have to get training and support for people coming into nursing, or back into nursing, correct, but social care is also important, and the pay in the social care sector is really dismal. It is a highly skilled job. If someone is working in a nursing home, they may have in their hands the care of the dying, and I do not think that there is a more important or dignified job in this country.

We have relied on EU nationals to a great extent and this Bill will have a huge impact on the social care sector. We have a massive staff shortage; there are hundreds of thousands of vacancies in the care sector. However, it is an interesting fact that that massive staff shortage has not increased pay in the care sector. If this was simply a matter of supply and demand, we might have expected wages in the care sector to rise quite rapidly over recent years, but the staff shortage has not increased pay, because in the end the funding for social care comes in large amount from the Government. That demonstrates the flaw in the argument that says, “Well, if we restrict immigration, that will necessarily put up pay”. Well, if in the end the funding—