• Tuesday, February 27, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Britons shouldn’t feel guilty about country’s past: Braverman

Home secretary says the UK should train more local people to check its dependence on overseas workers

Home secretary Suella Braverman during her speech at the National Conservatism Conference in London on May 15, 2023. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Home secretary Suella Braverman has said Britons should not feel guilty about their history and asserted that the country has “no future without reverence for its past”.

British people should take pride in “who we are” instead of living in a “special state of sin or collective guilt,” she said at the National Conservatism conference in London on Monday (15).

Braverman argued that while Britain was historically linked to slavery, the country should be recognised for “leading the way in abolishing it”, rather than profiting from it.

“I think the left can only sell its vision for the future by making people feel terrible about our past,” the home secretary said.

On immigration, she said Britain should train more local people to check its dependence on overseas workers.

“There is no good reason why we can’t train enough truck drivers, butchers, fruit pickers, builders or welders”, Braverman said, adding, “Brexit enables us to build a high-skilled, high-wage economy that is less dependent on low-skilled foreign labour”.

Her comment a day before the UK government on Tuesday (16) promised to award 45,000 visas for seasonal workers in the agricultural sector next year.

After a drop during the pandemic, net migration has been steadily on the rise and is expected to hit a record high this year, British media have reported. Official figures are expected this month.

Downing Street defended the decision on the visas.

The current rules “provide us the flexibility to flex the system depending on UK need,” a spokesman said on Tuesday, adding that Britain has a “historically low” unemployment rate.

Tougher immigration rules following Brexit, which ended free movement within EU member states, have made it harder to hire workers from the bloc, which British agriculture has traditionally relied upon.

The industry is also facing competition from imported products.

British businesses have been urging the government to be flexible in its immigration policy to boost the UK’s economic recovery that has remained sluggish.

Braverman, whose parents came from Mauritius and Kenya, also said immigration into the UK should be supplemented by a firm policy on integration to “conserve” the British way of life.

Immigrants should “embrace and respect this country” and they need to “learn English and understand British social norms and mores”, she said.

“And if we lack the confidence to promote our culture, defend our values, and venerate our past, then we have nothing to integrate people into,” she said.

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