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The majority of Conservative MPs dismiss economic migration as a way of overcoming UK skills shortages, new research reveals.

According to the poll by Skills for Business, less than two in ten Tories believe migrant workers should be used to help plug the skills gap. In contrast, 87 per cent of Labour politicians support encouraging economic migration to solve the problem as do the majority of Liberal Democrat MPs.

The report was released to coincide with this week's skills debate at the Conservative party conference in Blackpool which will highlight the fact that 60 per cent of employers admit to having problems recruiting sufficiently skilled new employees.

Professor Mike Campbell, director of Skills for Business, claimed the strength of Tory opposition to economic migration was a "startling revelation".

"Migrant workers introduce new skills to the workforce and it is important for all members of the House to appreciate the benefits of embracing overseas talent," he said.

"We have already seen the willingness of other economies to encourage migrant labour, such as in Australia, and Britain must accept the international nature of the modern workforce if it is to compete at a global level."

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