Ministers who can’t count

Pritti Patel, the current British Home Secretary (third from left, top row), recently introduced the UK’s “tough” new points-based immigration system that will come into force on January 1, 2021. Faced with criticism that the system will severely impair certain sectors of British industry, Ms Patel asserted that the new rules will be a golden opportunity for 8.48m “economically inactive” British people between the ages of 16 and 64 to join the workforce.

Writing in today’s Financial Times, Bronwen Maddox points out that, according to the Office of National Statistics, 2.3m of those are students, 2.1m are long-term sick or disabled, 1.9m are looking after their family or home, 1.1m are retired and 160,000 are temporarily sick. This leaves 1.87m who might like a job and do not have one.

Perhaps one of them would like a job in the Home Secretary’s office, handling the arithmetic.