Starmer: Skills shortage cannot be remedied by foreign workers

Sir Keir Starmer has said the labour shortage in the UK cannot be remedied with foreign workers but by training Britons.

The Labour leader said: “We can’t rely on bringing in talent from abroad.”

In a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Express which covered Brexit, the migrant crisis and the possible return of Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir declared Labour is a “changed party”.

He added: “We have turned the party inside out.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons
Sir Keir Starmer said Labour had been turned ‘inside out’ since Jeremy Corbyn was at the helm (House of Commons/PA)

According to the newspaper, Sir Keir revealed he supports a points-based immigration system so qualified people can come to the UK when there is a specific shortage of skilled workers.

On the topic of Brexit, he said there is no “going back”.

He told the Express: “Let me clear about Brexit. There is no case for going back into the single market or customs union. Freedom of movement is over. There will be no return to that, either.

“What we want to do is make Brexit work.”

He went on say it is “very difficult to see the circumstances in which” Mr Corbyn would return as an MP for his party.

Sir Keir’s reluctance to bring in foreign workers to fill labour shortages comes after Conservative peer and prominent Brexit-backer Lord Wolfson called on the Government to do exactly that.

File photo dated 06/12/19 of the then Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) alongside the then shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer during a press conference in central London
Sir Keir said it is ‘very difficult to see the circumstances in which’ Jeremy Corbyn would return as an MP (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Speaking with the BBC earlier this week, the Next boss said the UK’s current immigration policy is crippling economic growth. He suggested firms could pay a tax to employ foreign workers which would encourage them to prioritise British candidates.

“We have got people queuing up to come to this country to pick crops that are rotting in fields, to work in warehouses that otherwise wouldn’t be operable, and we’re not letting them in,” Lord Wolfson said.

“We have to take a different approach to economically productive migration.

“I think in respect of immigration, it’s definitely not the Brexit that I wanted, or indeed, many of the people who voted Brexit wanted.

“We have to remember, you know, we’re all stuck in this Brexit argument. We have to remember that what post-Brexit Britain looks like is not the preserve of those people that voted Brexit, it’s for all of us to decide.”