Vince Cable has launched a fierce attack on government plans to make some overseas visitors pay a £3,000 bond to visit the UK as it sends the “wrong message” about Britain.
The revelation comes less than 48 hours after the LibDem business secretary attacked the government’s pilot poster scheme calling on immigrants to “go home or face arrest” as “stupid and offensive”. The LibDem minister also criticised Tory MPs for "obsessing" over the number of people coming to the UK.
Cable’s latest broadside is aimed at government plans to deter Asian and African short-term visitors from overstaying in the UK by asking them to pay a cash bond.
“It is very disappointing and it has not been agreed across the coalition and it seems to send the wrong message that Britain is closed for business,” Cable told the Financial Times.
“The operation for the visa scheme, together with the bonds on these Commonwealth countries is simply having the effect of driving bona fide visitors who want to spend and to do business in the UK to France and Germany.”
The party had originally planned for a bond scheme to work as an extra route for people who have been rejected for visas, Cable said. “It was never meant to apply to everyone.”