The Conservative Party is sending out a message that Britain is “closed for business”, Vince Cable told the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Glasgow.
The Express quoted Cable as saying: “I did hope we would find a common ground with the Tories in at least one area, which is supporting the idea of an open and outward-looking country.”
“Indeed, we said with one voice that Britain is open for business.”
“Sadly, that message has changed. Brazilian and other overseas students, who would bring economic and wider benefits to British interests, have been told they are burdensome immigrants, so they go to the United States instead.”
“We have Chinese tourists and businessmen, who are so fed up with the hassle and humiliation of trying to visit Britain and make investments here, that they are taking their money to Germany and France instead.”
“What they hear is that we are closed for business. That must change.”
BBC News reported that Cable attacked Conservative policies on immigration, the economy and Europe, saying their approach was based on the “cynical” calculation that “fear trumps hope” and “competence requires callousness”.
“We have got dog-whistle politics, orchestrated by an Australian Rottweiler, we have got hostility to organised labour, people on benefits and immigrant minorities,” Sky News quoted him as saying.
Earlier, news media reported that university vice-chancellors said they were concerned that the government was stoking up “public paranoia” over immigration.
The Independent reported Professor Sir Christopher Snowdon, president of Universities UK, told his bodies annual conference that international students perceive they will be unwelcome when they arrive in the UK.
“As we approach the election, we can probably expect more discussion about visas and the likelihood of proposals for further restrictions, reflecting the public paranoia over immigration,” he was quoted as saying.
According to the Telegraph, the university vice-chancellors’ conference heard how a culture of hostility towards international students has been allowed to build up as a result of the Coalition’s drive to cut levels of net migration.
“We do have an issue not just within universities but in the whole of the United Kingdom in terms of having essentially quite a xenophobic population,” Professor Quintin McKellar, vice-chancellor of Hertfordshire University, was quoted as saying.