British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is ready to make a “bold decision” to rebuild the economy after the coronavirus pandemic
Despite economic concerns, opinion polls showed Johnson and his conservative opposition were voting ahead of the Labor Party.
Ahead of the conference, Johnson said he was ready to make “big, bold decisions on people’s priorities — on social care, on supporting jobs, on climate change, on tackling crime and raising standards.”
Asked about the truck driver shortage crisis, Johnson said it was a “chronic problem”, linked to low wages and an excessive reliance on migrant workers willing to work in poor conditions. He said that he would not repeat such a mistake.
“The way forward for our country is not just pulling the big lever marked by uncontrolled immigration and letting large numbers of people work,” he told the BBC.
Referring to the 2016 referendum, which led to Britain leaving the EU, Johnson said: “When people voted for change in 2016 … and chronic low productivity, and we are moving away from that. “
Johnson said Britain’s economy was going through a “period of adjustment” after Brexit, and acknowledged that supply chain problems and shortages in food and fuel could continue until Christmas.
He also said conditions at gas stations were improving after more than a week of disruption – although retailers say drivers still cannot get gas at many pumps in the London area and south-east England Is.
Britain has long struggled with a shortage of truck drivers, but the problem has cropped up with a combination of Brexit, which ended the freedom of movement of workers from the EU into Britain, and the pandemic, which severely limited travel. Taxed and stopped training for domestic drivers should replace those who left for their country.
About 200 military personnel, including 100 drivers, will take to the streets from Monday to help ease fuel supply shortages.
The Petrol Retailers Association welcomed the move, but warned that it would have a limited impact given the relatively small numbers involved.
The government also said on Friday that it was expanding the emergency visa program for thousands of foreign truck drivers.