Boris plans for Britain will make it ‘globally uncompetitive’, fears former Brexit MEP

Boris' plans for Britain will make it ‘globally uncompetitive’

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Boris Johnson said he would unleash the “unique spirit” of the country as he set out on the “difficult” process of reshaping the British economy. The Prime Minister used his Conservative Party conference speech to say he has the “guts” to reshape society, addressing issues that had been dodged by previous administrations. But businessman and ex-MEP Lance Forman warned Mr Johnson’s vision of highly skilled workers will force prices to increase.

Speaking to TalkRadio, Mr Foreman said: “There was so much that didn’t make sense in Boris Johnson’s speech in terms of the economy.

“He was saying that we don’t want to bring low-skilled jobs into the UK and we want to be a high-skilled job economy.

“But if we are a high-skilling job economy who is going to be doing those low-skilled jobs? You still need them.

“You need a whole spectrum of jobs across any economy.

“The thing that worries me about everyone saying, ‘we have to be a high wage economy’ is that if you do that you basically make Britain globally uncompetitive.

“We have to compete in the world and if every business is paying too much for its labour.

“It doesn’t even help the UK economy because businesses will have to put their prices up.”

Mr Johnson’s speech has since been heavily condemned by business leaders for lacking a coherent economic plan.

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With labour shortages hitting supply chains, leading to empty shelves and queues at petrol stations, Mr Johnson defended his strategy of restricting the supply of cheap foreign labour after Brexit, insisting his new approach would ultimately create a “low-tax economy”.

But businesses leaders have criticised this approach, with many arguing that restricting migration could lead to higher inflation and increase costs on the consumers.

Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland and Leave voter, complained about the Government treating businesses like an “endless sponge” when they can only weather so many cost increases at once.

He told the Times: “The finger is being pointed at business as the bogeyman, but it’s much wider than that. We want to pay our people as much as possible but business is not an endless sponge that can keep absorbing costs in one go.

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“Next year we’ll have a wave of higher costs in one go. Next year we’ll have a wave of higher costs from higher energy bills, extra HGV drivers, packaging costs. We can only weather many cost increases at once, so they need to tape it.”

The Federation of Small Businesses criticised the 45-minute conference speech, noting Labour, and not the Conservatives, are the only party with a “pro-small business policy”.

Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, told Times Radio: “Looking at this party conference season, there was one party of the two that came out with a pro-small business policy.

“And I think, you know, the Government should be looking at that and going: ‘Well, maybe we’ve taken this group a bit for granted’. So now, what is that small business offer? What is their response? And at the moment there isn’t much, so there needs to be a really strong response to the budget.”

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