UK business leaders urge Sunak govt to relax immigration rules. Details here


British businesses have urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to relax immigration rules in the country owing to chronic staff shortages and a looming recession. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) pointed out that fast action is needed to allow more overseas workers in Britain to sustain this crisis period. 

In his upcoming autumn statement, Hunt is expected to offer thin gruel for businesses and individuals and the focus will be mainly on balancing the books through tax rises and spending cuts. Noting the same, CBI said “cost-free” options to bolster economic growth is an urgent need otherwise businesses would “go into hibernation” this winter.

“With fiscal and monetary policy tightening, we need many more pro-growth policies for our economy, if we’re to avoid a decade of no growth,” Tony Danker, the director general of the CBI told The Guardian. He further added though the chancellor has promised a plan for growth, it needs to tackle the challenges they are facing right now

CBI said failure to tackle workforce shortages might turn out to be damaging for the economy in the short and long term.

“Not matching action on spending and tax with measures to tackle labour shortages and productivity is likely to be damaging in the short and long term,” said Danker. “A desperate lack of workers is inflating wages and stopping firms growing.”

“Our planning rules allow local officials to hamper major projects we need. Our regulatory regime doesn’t do enough to incentivise investment and innovation. It is far more important to change that than partisan efforts to simply repeal EU laws which won’t make any positive difference to most firms.”

Currently, sectors including hospitality, construction, and manufacturing are facing labour shortages in the country. To offer the solution to the same, CBI proposed, government’s shortage occupation list, which offers easier work visas for overseas workers in specified jobs, could be expanded. 

Student and graduate visa routes could also be added, as well as visas linked to specific economic projects.

The CBI asserted in case the austerity budget fail to provide enough encouragement for companies to invest in capital projects and new innovation it could lead to “another decade” of poor economic performance. 

“Many businesses are doing their 2023 budgets right now,” said Danker. “They do see growth ahead and want to invest but fear that all signals from policymakers are warning them against doing so.”

 

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