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Targeting India for UK's loss of jobs is not fair: Prescott

UK Dy PM has told UK trade unions that it was "unfair" to blame India for loss of jobs due to outsourcing.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2003 21:34 IST

Asking Britain's trade unions to show a sense of fairness towards India, British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has said that it was "unfair" to blame India for loss of British jobs because of "outsourcing" and India must be given a chance to develop its skills and markets.

"The trade unions here must show a sense of fairness towards India vis-a-vis winning outsourcing deals from some of Britain's biggest firms. The furore is unfair and India must be given a chance to develop its skills and markets," Prescott said while speaking at a reception hosted by the Labour Friends of India at Bournemouth.

Over 250 Labour Party members and activists including 40 Labour MPs including Bob Ainsworth, deputy chief whip, Tony McNulty, Minister in Department of Transport and Stephen Timms, E-Commerce Minister attended the reception.

Prescott thanked the Indian Government for placing an order for the HAWK Advance Jet Trainer as it saved many jobs in his constituency.

Speaking on the occasion, the Indian High Commissioner Ronen Sen paid tribute to the close relationship India had with Lord Williams of Mostyn, Leader of the House of Lords, who recently died and described the relationship as "close and he remained very accessible and extremely helpful. We shall miss him as he was a very dear friend."

On the emerging India, Sen said, India was doing well despite numerous natural calamities, unending acts of terrorism such as bomb blasts in Mumbai recently. "Our exports are booming despite a global slowdown and we have the second fastest growth rate in the world", he said.

"This year we also stopped accepting official aid from many countries and in fact became donors to less fortunate countries which included writing off debt to the least developed countries. We have also joined the IMF as creditors", Sen said.

Expressing his disappointment over the Cancun round of WTO, Sen said, "With your support we hope to achieve a successful conclusion to negotiations for a fair and equitable multilateral trading system."

On Prescott's view on outsourcing, Sen said, "We genuinely appreciate the sentiments of those who may lose jobs in this global economy because we have faced similar situations in India for some time."

Earlier, Labour Friends of India chairman Stephen Pound MP said, "Trying to protect the software industry is counter productive and moving with India is the best option for Britain".

"The idea that we can revert back to imposing trade barriers belongs to the 19th century. In India working conditions are extremely good and leave us far behind in this country."

First Published: Dec 25, 2003 21:33 IST