Boris Johnson is vowed in a conference speech to create a “high-wage economy” that excludes a return to mass immigration.
What follows is a petrol shortage attributed to a truck driver shortage, which critics have linked to Brexit and the end of the free movement rules that allow EU workers to come to the UK. It has also been suggested that supermarkets are running out of some groceries for similar reasons.
But speaking to activists at the Conservative Conference in Manchester, Mr Johnson will propose that curbing immigration helps British workers. He will say: “We are now beginning the change of direction that was long overdue in the UK economy. We are not going back to the old broken model of low wages, low growth, low skills and low productivity made possible and supported by uncontrolled immigration.
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“And the answer… is not to resort to the old lever of uncontrolled migration to keep wages down. The answer is to control immigration to allow talented people to come to this country, but not to use immigration as an excuse for failure to invest in people, skills, and the equipment or machines they use to do their jobs require.”
The speech will mainly focus on the Prime Minister’s plan to “straighten up” the country, which includes improving living standards, public services and the number of good jobs in regions such as the Midlands and the North.
He will say: “There is no reason why people in one part of the country should be geographically poorer than others.
“Leveling works for the whole country – and is the right and responsible policy. Because it helps to relieve parts of the overheated Southeast and at the same time gives hope and opportunity for those areas that have felt left behind.”
In an attempt to define what he means by leveling up, Mr. Johnson will say, “If you want to get the idea to the point, you will find talent, genius, flair, imagination, enthusiasm – all evenly distributed across this country – but opportunities they are not, and it is our mission as Conservatives to promote opportunity with every tool at our disposal. “
He will insist that his government have the “courage” to tackle issues such as welfare funding that previous governments have ignored. The remarks could be understood as criticism not only of former Labor governments, but also of recent Conservative governments led by former Prime Ministers such as David Cameron and Theresa May.
Mr Johnson will say, “After decades of drifting and trembling in this reforming government, this can be done by a government that got Brexit, got the vaccines up, and got the welfare done.
“We deal with the biggest underlying problems in our economy and society. The problems that no government has dared to address.”
The speech is expected to include an announcement that the government will improve rail links between the northeast and the northwest.