Britain must end reliance on ‘cheap labour’, Starmer tells businesses

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British main opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer warned business bosses on Tuesday “the days of low pay and cheap labour” must end, putting him in line with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who has also rejected calls for looser immigration rules.

Some businesses have been pushing the government to ease immigration rules, especially from the European Union, to fill job vacancies and boost flagging growth, which they say has been worsened by the post-Brexit end of free movement from the bloc.

Britain’s exit from the EU was sold by its backers, including former prime minister Boris Johnson, as a way to “take back control” of immigration rates, which some voters said was squeezing access to both jobs and welfare benefits.

Starmer has repeatedly said that Labour, if it forms a government at the next election due before the beginning of 2025, will not support open borders to immigration and would introduce a points-based system – a policy all but the same as that adopted by the governing Conservative Party.

In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, Starmer doubled down on that message by telling businesses that a Labour government would work with companies to “help the British economy off its immigration dependency”.

“Migration is part of our national story – always has been, always will be. And the Labour Party will never diminish the contribution it makes to the economy, to public services, to your businesses and our communities,” he told the conference in the central English city of Birmingham.

“But let me tell you – the days when low pay and cheap labour are part of the British way on growth must end.”

via Reuters

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