British PM vows to reduce immigration

London: Prime Minister Theresa May launched her Conservative Party’s election manifesto on Thursday with a pledge to restrict EU citizens’ freedom of movement to Britain and curb non-EU immigration.
May said Britain faces “five giant challenges” as it leaves the European Union and tackles social divisions, economic rebalancing, an ageing society and rapid technological change.
She said her manifesto was “rooted in the hopes and aspirations of ordinary working people across the land,” promising to build “a great meritocracy… that works not just for the privileged few.”
May pledged to “make sure that everyone has the opportunity to make the most of their talents and hard work, whoever you are and wherever you are from.”
She said her government, which plans to withdraw Britain from the EU single market after Brexit, will “not seek to be half in, half out” of the EU.
The manifesto includes a promise to keep the Conservatives’ long-term commitment to reduce Britain’s annual net immigration to below 100,000 and double an annual levy for employers who use skilled staff from outside the EU.
“Uncontrolled immigration has an impact on people, on public services… and sometimes in displacing jobs,” May said when asked about the commitment ro reduce net migration.
She highlighted the challenge of building a strong economy to” guarantee our security, our personal prosperity, our public services (and) contented and sustainable communities.”
On Brexit, she said that because there was “increasingly little distinction between domestic and international affairs in matters of migration, national security and the economy, Britain must stay strong and united — and take a lead in the world to defend our interests.”
May said the country faces another challenge to “harness the power of fast-changing technology, while ensuring that our security and personal privacy — and the welfare of children and younger people — are protected.”
She told elderly voters that they will be able to pay for their social care posthumously out of their estates, rather than by selling their homes as many people are forced to do now.
Ahead of her speech, May told readers of The Sun, one of Britain’s two most popular right-wing tabloids, that her manifesto reflected ”the interests of ordinary working families.”
“These families — families like yours — have been ignored by politicians, and by others in positions of power, for too long,” she wrote.
When May called the snap election, to be held on June 8, she asked voters to back her leadership and her Brexit plan by giving her a larger majority in parliament.
Under her election slogan “strong, stable leadership in the national interest,” May is wooing Labour voters dissatisfied with left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn and with the former Labour government’s liberal policy on immigration.
“It is time to put the old tribal politics behind us,” May said in her speech. “Every vote for me and my team will be a vote to get on with the job of Brexit.”
May’s article in Thursday’s Sun was her third for the newspaper since May 7. — dpa