Evening Standard Comment: In Boris Johnson versus business, where is Keir Starmer?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
HGV lorries on the M4 motorway near Datchet, Berkshire (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
HGV lorries on the M4 motorway near Datchet, Berkshire (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson has rightly taken a kicking from business leaders — from FTSE 100 companies to SMEs — over his approach to business and the problems they face, partly as a result of his government’s policies.

Lord Wolfson’s column in the Standard laid bare the problems, and a government seemingly prioritising ideological fervour over the needs of business and the economy when it comes to immigration.

Yet it also creates a problem for a Labour Party desperate to win back those Red Wall seats it lost in 2019. What does Sir Keir Starmer say in a row between Johnson and business over immigration?

Two weeks ago, the Labour leader suggested he might grant 100,000 visas to fill the HGV driver shortage, compared with Johnson’s 5,000.

Regardless of the economic reasoning, the Tories are likely to replay that clip over and over to argue that Starmer is in effect calling for freedom of movement by the back door.

The immigration debate is a reminder that a problem for the Government — even one of its own making — is not necessarily an open goal for the Opposition.

Happy holidays

In a rare reminder that costs can fall as well as rise, expensive PCR tests are set to be ditched before the half-term for travellers returning to England. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced they could instead take a cheaper lateral flow test, which could save a family of four £200.

We have called for a relaxation on travel restrictions, and ran an investigation into rip-off PCR tests, so this news is welcome on both fronts.

We will remain vigilant on the cost of lateral flow tests, but the slashing of the red list is great news for those desperate to be reunited with family and is a much-need boost for the travel industry.

Read More

Next CEO Lord Wolfson: I voted for Brexit but as the head of a FTSE 100 company I know more than anyone how much Britain needs immigration

More bosses join wave of business leaders slamming Boris Johnson over shortages

Rising costs and tax leave businesses with ‘damp spirit’, says CBI chief

Costly day two PCR tests ditched before half term break

Watchdog launches probe into Dante Labs over missing PCR tests

Travellers scramble to book holidays as rules are lifted

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting