A BBC presenter clashed with a Tory minister over a government crackdown on foreign workers.
Justin Webb told Chris Philp that some care homes will have to close their doors if staff from abroad are no longer able to bring loved ones with them to the UK.
The measure was part of a five-point plan unveiled by home secretary James Cleverly on Monday to reduce net migration.
On Radio 4′s Today programme this morning, Webb told the minister: “We heard from a care home owner in Somerset that they would have to close if foreign workers didn’t come because they were put off coming because they couldn’t bring their families.
“Would the government be willing to think again if it saw its policies cause further real damage to the care home sector.”
But Philp rejected that argument and insisted there were enough British workers to do the jobs instead.
He said: “In the last year, the NHS workforce has increased by 67,000 people, which is a huge increase. There are millions of UK citizens who are of working age but not working.”
But Webb told him: “They just won’t do it for the money. They tried to recruit locally and they can’t.
“I mean, you’re coming up against facts, aren’t you? That’s what really frustrates the people we talk to in these care homes. The things that you’re saying, they are saying, just can’t work.”
Philp said the government had also introduced measures to get UK workers off benefits “to avoid us having to import large numbers of low-skilled migrants when we’ve got millions of people domestically here”.
Webb hit back: “You use the term ‘low skilled’ but I think what they would say in the care homes is it’s not low-skilled, looking after people is a real skill, and they’ve got people who do it well at the moment.
“Just substituting them for people that you’ve forced into work is just unrealistic.”
But the minister said: “I just don’t accept that. It’s not reasonable for millions of UK citizens being paid collectively £200 billion a year when there are jobs available and it’s not reasonable to have large numbers of people on low-skilled routes to substitute for that labour market shortage.”