Starmer warns UK cannot risk ‘brain drain’ to Europe

Starmer warns UK cannot risk ‘brain drain’ to Europe

Sir Keir Starmer warned Britain cannot risk a “brain drain” to Europe as he set out his party’s mission for economic growth.

During a speech in London’s financial district on Monday, the Labour leader said the UK had to “remove barriers to investment” which mean companies are choosing other countries to do businesses in over Britain.

He said: “I don’t want a Britain where young people, in our great towns and cities, are left with no option but to get out. A brain drain — not just to London or Edinburgh, but to Lyon, Munich and Warsaw — that’s not the future our country deserves.”

Sir Keir said Labour was proposing “five shifts in Britain’s growth model” to sustain the “highest growth in the G7”.

“Britain needs certainty, yes,” he said, “but also change. And this is my real ambition, the goal that fires my imagination, a new model for economic growth. Growth from the grassroots, where wealth is created everywhere, by everyone, for everyone.”

Sir Keir said Britain could not rely on immigration to fill the one million job vacancies that the country faced. Leaders in some sectors, including farming and hospitality, have called for relaxed immigration rules to fill posts quickly.

“We recognise the short-term problem,” Sir Keir said. “And we’re not going to be anti-business or anti-growth or anti-farming about this and allow short-term problems to create long-term problems. But we do have to get ourselves off the idea that migration is the answer to all of our problems. We’ve had a skills problem in this country for decades.”

Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands hit back at Labour’s economic plans, saying it had £90 billion of “unfunded spending”.