Starmer tells CBI Britain must end ‘immigration addiction’

Labor leader Keir Starmer told the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in Birmingham today that his government would be “pragmatic” about migrant workers as part of a national “growth strategy”.

However, he will add that the UK needs to end the “cheap labour” model for growth and rid itself of its “immigration dependency”.

Starmer wants businesses to “invest more in training the staff that are already here”.

The employee reform plan includes:

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  • Ensuring that employers who issue sponsored visas meet standards of decent wages and working conditions
  • Accelerating visa delays to avoid labor shortages
  • Providing training and plans to improve pay and working conditions for roles requiring international recruitment
  • Reform the migration advisory committee to more accurately predict future migration trends

Yesterday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was urged by businessmen to enforce immigration rules. Sunak replied that he wanted the UK to be able to attract and welcome the “best and brightest” from around the world. But he added that the British people must have “trust and confidence” in the immigration system.

“This means fighting illegal migration, and I am determined to do that,” he said.

This was reported by CBI Director Tony Danker on Monday BBC Radio 4 The Today programme, increased immigration should be used to “bridge the gap” in the UK workforce as businesses struggle to fill vacancies.

He added: “On immigration, it’s quite interesting, when you look at the OBR report on Thursday, they said the only thing that really moves the needle on growth is to allow a little more immigration.

“The reason it’s so important is that we have literally over a million vacancies in this country, over 600,000 people who are sick for a long time and are not going to be back in the workforce anytime soon.

“I recognize that this is a difficult political choice for conservative politicians.”

Starmer’s speech at the CBI conference in Birmingham will follow that of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday.

Sunak’s keynote speech on Monday focused on innovation. The prime minister promised to “use innovation to drive economic growth.” He said “innovation” was “critical” to his mission to make Britain more prosperous.

He added that driving innovation would be the Government’s “defining focus” and he wanted it to “permeate every aspect of what we do”.

In questions after the speech, Sunak was also keen to dispel reports that the government could strike a post-Brexit Swiss-style deal with the European Union.

“On trade, let me be clear on that,” he told a conference room in Birmingham. Under my leadership, the United Kingdom will have no relationship with Europe based on compliance with EU law.

“Now I voted for Brexit, I believe in Brexit and I know that Brexit can and already does bring huge benefits and opportunities for the country, where we can get the necessary control over our migration borders. A conversation with the country about the kind of migration we want and need.