The Provisional BBC is a paramilitary organisation which split from the BBC in October 2006 in protest at its toleration of poor writing and Liberal Democrats. The Provisional BBC regrets any civilian casualties resulting from posts contained within, but lays the blame squarely at the foot of the Tories. It is our duty to resist them, by any and all means necessary.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Guest column #5 - The BBC

In an occasional series, the Provisional BBC brings you stories you'd expect to see here, if reputable news outlets hadn't published them first. The inclusion of this article was considered carefully. It addresses a serious issue and the Provisional BBC would not want readers to treat the issue lightly. However, the way the article is written and the quote from a Conservative spokesman at the end justify its inclusion.

"Curry houses need more migrants"

By the BBC

The Home Office is being urged to ease restrictions on migrant workers entering Britain from Bangladesh, to avert a crisis in the curry industry.

Curry houses are struggling to fill thousands of kitchen staff vacancies, says the Immigration Advisory Service.

For years, many staff in the UK's 9,000 curry restaurants have been recruited directly from Bangladesh.

But restrictions on the workers have been tighter since eastern Europeans were given employment rights.

It is thought the curry industry in the UK employs at least 50,000 people, with the majority of restaurants Bangladeshi-owned.

'Cultural sensitivity'

According to the IAS, restrictions on lower-skilled workers from outside the EU are causing a labour shortage so severe it could cause "irreparable damage" to the curry industry.

It argues that attempts to get eastern Europeans to work in curry restaurants have failed because they do not have the "cultural sensitivity" required.

The IAS has written to the Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, asking for the rules to be relaxed for catering workers from Bangladesh.

But government officials said they had no plans to review the current arrangements.

A Border and Immigration Agency spokesman said its objective was to "manage migration in the national interest"

"Striking the right balance between safeguarding the interests of the UK resident work force and enabling UK employers to recruit or transfer skilled people from abroad in order to help them compete effectively in an international market," he said.

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard said figures from the Office of National Statistics showed an already high level of unemployment among UK-based Bangladeshis.

"I oppose any easing of visa restrictions given that the existing Bangladeshi community living in the UK already has the highest unemployment rate of any other ethnic group," he said.

"More needs to be done to get existing UK Bangladeshis into work - and to end claiming state benefits."

3 comments:

jdc said...

An excellent spoof could have been written about the need to get more Scottish people to move to the South to open fish and chip shops because they're all having to be run by Chinese who don't have the 'cultural sensitivity' required.

But as you say, when the original article does the job so well...

Good grief though, anyone would think every Bangladeshi in England was working an 80 hour week, and it was impossible to get a seat in a curry house without going on a waiting list a month in advance. Have they maybe considered paying a bit more? Not, of course, that I agree that the jobs should be racially ringfenced any more than I think the pie and mash shop next to my flat should be allowed to employ only White Cockneys.

Here's today's classic, from the Guardian.

It must have been a bad day, a terrible phone line or a group of civil servants whose knowledge of regional geography was based on pre-Industrial Revolution Britain.

Whichever, the government office in charge of local councils was struggling yesterday to explain how grants totalling £2.8m have been paid by mistake to Newcastle-under-Lyme instead of Newcastle upon Tyne.

The improbable bungle, seldom made even by directory inquiries or GCSE candidates, mistook a quiet Midlands market town for one of the country's biggest cities, home of brown ale and Kevin Keegan's Premiership football team. It also handed the wrong local authority, a modest borough council whose greatest excitements come in the annual Britain in Bloom competition, funds worth more than a 10th of its whole net annual expenditure.

"This is a regrettable error and we have taken action to rectify it," said a statement from the communities and local government department, which is charged with helping local councils and therefore knowing where they are.

Initial blame is being placed on the complexities of a competitive scheme for extra cash, one of many introduced during Labour's decade in power, whose payments have been worked out in Whitehall, rather than locally.

Known as "Labgi money"- Local Authority Business Growth Incentive - the fund will have paid out £126m to some 270 councils by the time it is abolished at the end of next month. Grants have match-funded town hall success in attracting new businesses, which Newcastle-under-Lyme says partly explains its acceptance of the jackpot. "We took this money in good faith, because we've seen a lot of business generation," said a spokesman for the borough council. The payment, which should have been only £600,000, also came in several tranches.

The big Newcastle 185 miles north revealed that it had queried its "apparently low" level of payments under the scheme a year ago. John Shipley, the city's Liberal Democrat leader, said: "Our officers were surprised that we hadn't got more money. But now we find out that a gross error has been made. I'm pretty shocked. Those of us in local government are regularly accused of being inefficient by Whitehall. But at least we know our Newcastle upon Tyne from our Newcastle-under-Lyme."

Even the two places' differing policy over hyphens - a regular question in pub quizzes and Trivial Pursuit - failed to alert the London civil servants to their muddle. The city council is budgeting for spending cuts of £13.6m this year and on course to raise council tax in April by approaching 4%.

The communities department said yesterday that the correct money would now be sent to Tyneside, where youth service, care of the elderly and street warden budgets will probably be increased as a result.

Although the bulk of the windfall was put in Newcastle-under-Lyme council's reserves - more than quadrupling them - approaching £500,000 has been spent.

Council leader Simon Tagg said: "I'm flabbergasted that someone could have made this mistake. If we do have to pay it back, it should be over 20 years. We can't hand over £2m just like that." The department said that it was "taking steps to ensure this does not happen again and working closely with the councils involved" - now that it knows which is which.

tim f said...

I chortled all the way through that. Especially

"Even the two places' differing policy over hyphens - a regular question in pub quizzes and Trivial Pursuit - failed to alert the London civil servants to their muddle."

which has clearly been inserted just so the journalist could bring up the pointless quizzes/Trivial Pursuit reference. As if the hyphen difference was more noticeable that the name/preposition difference!

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