Keir Starmer to call for end to ‘immigration dependency’

Keir Starmer says freedom of movement is 'gone'

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Sir Keir Starmer is set to give a keynote speech at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s annual conference on Tuesday, in which he will call for an end to “immigration dependency” in the UK. The leader of the Labour party is expected to say how essential it is to invest more in “training up workers who are already here”.

The party says that Labour will improve how the immigration system works for both businesses and workers, as the current system has been perpetuating labour shortages, low pay and unacceptable working conditions.

However, he added that his Government would be “pragmatic” about the need for immigrant workers and skilled people in this country.

Sir Keir will say: “I want to be clear here: with my Labour government any movement in our point-based migration system, whether via the skilled occupation route, or the shortage worker list, will come with new conditions for business.

“We will expect you to bring forward a clear plan for higher skills and more training, for better pay and conditions, for investment in new technology.

“But our common goal must be to help the British economy off its immigration dependency. To start investing more in training up workers who are already here.

“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.

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

He is then expected to list his top three priorities if Labour were to enter Government – “one – economic stability, two – higher skills, three – green growth”.

On Monday, PM Rishi Sunak made his own speech at the CBI conference and reinforced his commitment to making Brexit work.

He said the Conservatives could be seeking a “Swiss-style” relationship with the European Union, adding: “I voted for Brexit, I believe in Brexit and I know that Brexit can deliver, and is already delivering enormous benefits and opportunities for the country.”

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Mr Sunak emphasised that Brexit had enabled the UK to have “proper control of our borders”.

He continued: “We weren’t able to do that inside the European Union, at least now we are in control of it.”

However, CBI boss Tony Danker urged the Government to use immigrant workers to plug the gap left by a labour shortage in this country, saying leaders should be “practical” about the issue.

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