Migrant workers make Britain a better place, the Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, Anna Soubry, said today.
Fresh from the Conservative party conference in Manchester, the Minister came to Yorkshire to visit three thriving businesses in the Leeds Enterprise Partnership, including opening WITT UK’s new premises in Shelf, Halifax.
The minister emphasised the importance of the northern powerhouse, and said that migrant workers help make British businesses great.
“I want to make it very clear that I welcome people who come to us from other countries. They make Britain a better place,” she said.
Her comments came in response to a stongly-worded speech from WITT’s Chairman, Karsen Witt, who said: “We’re fortunate that we have a lot of colleagues who are not native to this country. Without them we would not be here. Not to put too strong a point on it, but they’re very very motivated.”
Mr Witt also used the speech to raise the issue of business rates with the minister, and said that the Halifax branch of the business pays around 60% tax in total because of Britain’s exceedingly high business rates.
“We’re using equipment that you would not find anywhere else in the world, because the taxes are so high. Even in our factory in India, we use more up to date machinery,” Mr Witt said.
Ms Soubry responded by saying that the Conservative government will put business rates back into the hands of local authorities, so that they can set rates at appropriate levels for the area.
Over the past 20 years, WITT Fan Systems has become a resounding success. When Fan Systems was bought by the group in 1993, it was on the verge of collapse and the Managing Director had not set foot in the factory for ten years.
Now it is thriving, and has recently opened a new factory in Shelf, Halifax. Mr Witt said the premesis is much bigger than they currently need, and they are hoping to expand further in the future.
Its expansion created 35 new jobs and founded a partnership with Bradford College to create apprenticeships in the business.