London party

Starmer: Skills shortage cannot be solved by foreign workers

Sir Keir Starmer said the UK’s labor shortage cannot be solved with overseas workers, but by training Britons.

The Labor leader said: ‘We cannot rely on foreign talent coming in.’

In an extensive interview with the Sunday Express which covered Brexit, the migrant crisis and the possible return of Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir said Labor is a “changed party”.

He added: “We rocked the party.”

Sir Keir Starmer said Labor had been in turmoil since Jeremy Corbyn took the helm (House of Commons/PA)

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

On Brexit, he said there was “no turning back”.

He told the Express: ‘Let me clarify Brexit. There is no reason to go back to the single market or the customs union. No more freedom of movement. There will also be no return to this.

“What we want is to make Brexit work.”

He went on to say that 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 overseas workers to fill labor shortages comes after Lord Wolfson, his Tory counterpart and prominent Brexit supporter, called on the government to do just that.

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

Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, the Next boss said the UK’s current immigration policy was crippling economic growth. He suggested that companies could pay a tax to employ foreign workers, which would encourage them to give priority to British applicants.

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

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

“I think when it comes to immigration, it’s definitely not Brexit that I wanted, or indeed a lot of those who voted for 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 isn’t just for those who voted for Brexit. Brexit is for all of us to decide.