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FPB hits out at ‘big business’ immigration bias

Plans to allow multi-national compa- nies to bypass immigration laws would be hugely unfair on smaller firms, it has been warned. The Forum of Private Business (FPB) believes gov- ernment proposals to exempt intra- company transfers from the planned immigration cap would put small and medium-sized companies at a com- petitive disadvantage.

Under the government’ proposed cap regulations, announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in November, big businesses will be free to trans- fer their staff from outside the EU to work in the UK, despite the cap, which aims to restrict the amount of non-EU nationals coming to Britain.

Big multi-national firms will be able to quickly and easily hire employees through their offices overseas in order to bring them to the UK, while smaller companies will be unable to do this as

they rarely have a base outside the UK. This could leave them struggling to recruit key, highly-skilled employees, and struggling to compete with larger rivals as a result.

Forum spokesman Phil McCabe says, “We appreciate that immigration is a sensitive issue, particularly in the cur- rent climate of high unemployment and strained public services. However, if the Government is going to restrict economic migration, it should do it in a way which affects businesses of all sizes equally.”

The government announced a cap of 21,700 on the number of skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area allowed into the UK. The figure is a cut of 6,300 on the equivalent figure for 2009. It excludes employees transferred by companies from abroad who in future they will be allowed to stay for

Tower Hamlets aims for healthier eating

The Borough of Tower Hamlets has launched a new Healthier Eating Out Guide, listing all local cafés, take- aways and restaurants that are part of the Healthy Borough’s Food for Health Awards. The awards acknowledge food businesses with a gold, silver or bronze ratings for using healthier cooking methods and recipes with reduced sugar, fat and salt. Diners can easily identify Food for Health Award winners by the yellow window sticker or a wall plate displayed at the premises.

The guide is available at leisure cen- tres, local stores, health centres and restaurants which are part of the Food for Health Awards. Alternatively, copies can be downloaded from the council or Tower Hamlets websites.

Tower Hamlets is only London borough offering such a guide and the council believes it has the potential to boost business for local restaurants, while

Spice Business Magazine 9 December 2010

at the same time giving people more healthier eating options. Companies in Tower Hamlets that would like to par- ticipate in the Food for Health Awards are invited to contact Altan Ahmet on 020 7364 6738.

This October, Tower Hamlets café, res- taurant, caterers and takeaway cooks participated in a free healthier cater- ing workshop run by Cyrus Todiwala, who demonstrated how to prepare healthier dishes using more spices and less salt and oil. During the ses- sion he also offered useful businesses tips and explained how healthier cook- ing can reduce food waste. “Customers want healthier options and we need to raise the standards. Tower Hamlets is making serious efforts to make the changes,” says Cyrus.

up to five years if their salary exceeds £40,000. The exclusion from the cap of intra-company transfers - for example someone working for a large US com- pany taking up a job in their London office - is seen as a success for the big business lobby. In addition to an appar- ent unlimited number of such transfers if the salary is above £40,000, firms are also being allowed to bring mem- bers of their staff to work in the UK for a year if the job is in ICT and the salary is over £24,000.

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