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BBC Breakfast clash as Charlie Stayt riles up care minister Gillian Keegan | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

Charlie Stayt accused the MP of reclassifying care workers into a category which means people from the EU could be employed within. Visibly angered, Keegan hit back and told the BBC Breakfast presenter he had not worded the question correctly in order to make a statement. Stayt retorted the minister knew what he had meant by the term.

It emerged as Stayt asked: “Gillian Keegan can I ask you a question, is a care worker a skilled worker?”

“Absolutely,” Keegan responded. Stayt, 59, probed: “So, you have now – unless I’m misunderstanding something – you have just reclassified caseworkers into a category in which you can employ people from the EU that puts them into a special category of people who can come and work here.”

Keegan argued: “No, what you’ve just done is used a word in the English language and tried to say it’s reclassifying.”

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She continued: “You asked me if they were skilled workers-“

“You know that’s an official term,” Stayt pointed out. He continued: “My apologies but-“

He seemed exasperated as Keegan interjected to say: “If you asked me the question, Charlie, are they under the definition of our immigration system skilled workers, I would have answered no.

“There are social care managers who are on that list but social care workers are not on the open immigration list and we’ve been very clear about this.

The minister went on: “So yes, they’re very skilled workers, highly skilled.

“In fact, akin to nurses in many cases if you look at what they actually carry out, but if you ask me if they’re on that definition for the immigration list, the answer to that is no.”

Stayt pointed out an example of a southwest care company which had empty beds due to lack of staff.

“They can’t use the beds for people who need them,” he explained. “There’s something really wrong about that.”

“There’s lots of pressures in the southwest in particular, for labour,” Keegan replied.

“I hear them about every single sector but it’s very acute in the southwest because there’s less young people, the demographics are different and obviously it’s large and rural.

“We do also have some under-occupancy actually which is there for a reason and has been funded by the government to help them with COVID patients and managing specific settings so that we keep infections lower as well.

“But there’s no doubt in the southwest there are severe shortages of labour.”

BBC Breakfast airs daily at 6am on BBC One.

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