19 February 2004 | Simon Binns
The government will have to introduce legislation forbidding foreign outsourcing if it wants to avoid political suicide, according to an industry expert.
Trade secretary Patricia Hewitt has rejected calls from UK businesses and unions to prevent companies from following the trend of moving jobs to developing nations such as India. Hewitt's rejection comes as the US considers outlawing such practices.
Paul Street, chief executive of consultancy The Sourcing Alliance, said many businesses were turning against outsourcing, leading to "intense" pressure for government. "The government will have to give in eventually and introduce some sort of legislation," he said.
"Companies in this country are starting to make a point of not outsourcing overseas and the pressure is certain to intensify."
A government review covering the effects of moving call centres offshore is set to be published in the spring.
Union Amicus, a fierce opponent of offshore outsourcing, has threatened to carry out its own public inquiry into the economic effects of moving jobs overseas which could be published in the summer.National Rail Enquiries has given a £100 million contract to the BT Group and Ventura to outsource half of its call centre operations to India. Around 600 staff will be based in Mumbai and Bangalore taking some of the estimated 50 million annual calls.