Sir Keir Starmer will say helping the UK economy break out of its ‘dependency on immigration’ in his keynote address to the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Speaking at Tuesday’s event, the Labor leader will say the focus should be on “further investment in training workers who are already here”.
The party says this means Labor will make the immigration system work better for business needs, but at the same time businesses must have a plan to develop the skills of British workers.
He adds that the current system is not working and has led to delays in addressing labor shortages, with stagnant wages and poor conditions being commonplace in some sectors of the economy.
Latest political news: Sunak rules out closer alignment with EU
Mr Keir will also warn bosses that “the days when low pay and cheap labor were part of Britain’s path to growth must end”.
The Labor leader will say he wants the party to have a ‘new partnership’ with business that will result in a ‘fairer, greener and more vibrant Britain’ where ‘aspiration is rewarded’.
Sir Keir will add that a future Labor government under his leadership will be ‘pragmatic’ about the fundamental shortage of people and will not ignore the need for qualified people to come to the country.
He will advocate a points-based immigration system that works for British workers and businesses and not a return to freedom of movement.
“But I want to be clear here: with my Labor government, any movement in our points-based migration system, whether through the skilled occupations route or the shortage workers list, will come with new conditions for business,” should Sir Keir. say.
“We expect you to present a clear plan for higher skills and more training, for better wages and conditions, for investments in new technologies.
“But our common goal must be to help the UK economy shed its reliance on immigration. To start investing more in training workers who are already here.
“Migration is part of our national history – always has been, always will be. And the Labor Party will never diminish the contribution it makes to the economy, to public services, to your businesses and to our communities.
“But let me tell you, the days when low pay and cheap labor were part of Britain’s strategy for growth must end.
“Now I know most companies understand this. But when we look at our economy as a whole, it can seem like we’re more comfortable hiring people to work in low-paying, insecure, sometimes operator that we invest in new technology that benefits workers, productivity and our country.
“And we can’t compete like that. The British low-wage model has to go. It doesn’t serve workers. It’s not compatible with grassroots growth.
“The three main priorities of my Labor Government, the principles that our partnership must live by to move Britain forward, are: one – economic stability, two – higher skills, three – green growth.
“I’ll put it simply: Every company in this room has a growth strategy. A nation needs one too.”
Prime Minister: “I believe in Brexit and I know it can be effective”
On Monday, Rishi Sunak reiterated his commitment to Brexit in his speech at the CBI conference amid reports that the government may seek a closer “Swiss-style” deal with the EU.
The Prime Minister said he was ‘unequivocal’ that he would not revert to any alignment with EU laws.
‘I voted for Brexit, I believe in Brexit and I know Brexit can be great, and already offers huge benefits and opportunities for the country,’ he added.
Mr Sunak highlighted having “proper control of our borders” when it comes to migration as an advantage, adding: “We haven’t been able to do that inside the European Union, at least now we control it .”
But his remarks come shortly after CBI boss Tony Danker called on the government to using immigration to solve UK labor shortagessaying he needs to be “practical” on the matter.
Brexit has made it difficult for many foreign workers to work in the UK and businesses are struggling to recruit, especially in sectors such as hospitality, which has relied heavily on European staff in recent years.
Despite four quarterly declines this year, the total number of vacancies remains high at more than 1.2 million.
Mr Danker told the conference that the UK’s labor shortages were “vast”, adding: “It’s time to be honest – we don’t have the people we need, nor productivity.”
However, Mr Sunak insisted the UK had ‘one of the most attractive visa regimes in the world for entrepreneurs and highly skilled people’, adding: ‘The country’s number one priority in this moment in migration is to fight against illegal migration”.
A report from the Sunday Times over the weekend claimed that some government officials are considering striking a new deal with the EU similar to Switzerland’s in an attempt to improve economic ties – particularly after recent market turmoil which have damaged the British economy and the continuing problems with the Northern Ireland protocol.
The deal sees the Swiss opted for access to the single market and removes controls on many goods, but means they are part of the Schengen common travel area and pay into the bloc’s coffers.
Number 10 strenuously denied the option was on the table, with Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick telling Sky News the government was “going to stick with the relationship we have established”.
But, he added: “That does not mean that we are not interested in improving our trade relations with the European Union or, in my field, our partnership on security and migration with the European Union. European”.