North Norfolk’s MP is facing backlash after emerging as a founding member of a group of Conservatives piling pressure on prime minister Rishi Sunak to cut migration.

Duncan Baker and fellow Tory MPs known as the New Conservatives have come up with a 12-point plan to reduce migration by the next general election - saying a failure to do so risks “eroding public trust” after voters backed Brexit in 2016.

The group wants the government to close visa schemes for care workers, raise visa salary thresholds, and cut refugee numbers.

However, Mr Baker has now been accused of not considering the care needs of people in North Norfolk - the constituency with the oldest population in the country.

Fakenham & Wells Times: North Norfolk MP Duncan BakerNorth Norfolk MP Duncan Baker (Image: Stuart Anderson)

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Steffan Aquarone, the Liberal Democrats’ party prospective candidate for North Norfolk, said the group’s proposals flew in the face of the country's “care crisis”.

“I am puzzled as to why our MP would join a breakaway government group whose main priority is to ban visas for care workers in the middle of a care crisis,” he said.

“It’s another blow to the needs of our vulnerable elderly population here in north Norfolk.”

Fakenham & Wells Times: North Norfolk is facing a shortage of social care workersNorth Norfolk is facing a shortage of social care workers (Image: Submitted)

The New Conservatives propose closing a scheme which temporarily grants visas to care workers, which it claims will reduce visa numbers by 117,000.

In England, 2.6 million people over the age of 50 are currently unable to access care, with thousands on waiting lists, according to the charity Age UK.

The UK’s population grew by more than 600,000 people last year, as per the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Net migration hit a record high in the year to December 2022 at 606,000, up from 488,000 in 2021.

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Fakenham & Wells Times: Liberal Democrats party prospective candidate for North Norfolk Steffan AquaroneLiberal Democrats party prospective candidate for North Norfolk Steffan Aquarone (Image: Alex Broadway)

Mr Baker said this is “unsustainable”, putting “enormous pressure” on public services.

He said forming new government groups like the New Conservatives is "not unusual". 

“I was very happy to attend a new group focusing on measures to reduce immigration as I know this is a very important matter to many of my constituents,” he said.

“Last year we had annual net migration figures of 606,000. When we have enormous pressures on our schools, health services and housing, we have to look at measures with which to try and reduce this unsustainable number.

"My concern is that within a decade, if immigration continues at these numbers we would see an increase in our population close to the population of London."

Mr Baker said he wanted Britain's "home-grown amazing carers" to get large pay rises.

He said: "I am a strong campaigner to improve the pay and conditions in adult social care and have volunteered in a local care home during my spare time and parliamentary break. 

"But at the moment we are not paying and investing in our carers as we should and simply relying on cheaper overseas labour to fill vacancies. Carers should be treated and respected on a par with nursing."

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Mr Baker acknowledged that the country is losing carers, with 165,000 care staff vacancies on average in 2021/22 – a 52pc increase on the previous year, according to Age UK. 

"Any reduction in the reliance on overseas carers would take time to achieve, but I want this group to act as a means to bring the reliance on overseas staff down over time," he added. 

"Across a range of sectors, we should be investing and skilling up our workers, paying them properly to fill vacancies with supply side reforms, including our vital care sector. Only that way will we build the long term care system of the future.”