Gordon Brown had his ‘British jobs for British workers’ slogan which many dismissed and now the current employment minister Chris Grayling has said that young British people looking for work should be given priority over immigrant applicants, including those from Eastern Europe.

According to employment law, however, discriminating against applicants on the basis of where they come from is illegal.

It was pointed out last week that official figures showed while unemployment was going up, reaching around 1m in those aged 16-24, the number of foreign nationals with jobs had also gone up – by 166,000 in one year.

Grayling said of UK-born jobseekers: “They come out of school or college, they don’t have previous experience, they may be up against someone who has come to the UK from Eastern Europe, who is five or six years older, who has got work experience already and are quite an attractive recruitment option for the employer.”

He told Sky News: “It is my hope that every employer in the UK, in deciding if they are going to recruit in the next few months, will put young UK unemployed people at the top of their priority list … we’ll do everything we can to encourage them to do so.”