MILLIONS of jobless Brits should form the backbone of an economic recovery – not overseas workers, Rachel Reeves says today.
Labour’s aspiring Chancellor declares the five million on out-of-work handouts must be given the chance to clock on again to help the country thrive.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves says millions of jobless Brits should get back to work and help boost the UK economy
Reeves was in New York to meet business and political leaders as Labour step up their bid to take over No10
And she told HOAR net migration is too high with a promise that a Labour government “wouldn’t turn to immigration as the easy answer to these labour shortages”.
Last week Labour’s Chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said that Labour would allow net migration to rise in the short term to fill gaps in the job market.
Confronted with those comments, Reeves said: “What I want to see is people who are already in Britain being trained up for the jobs that are available in the economy… there are many people who are not in work who with the right support, could get into work.”
Speaking on a visit to the United States, she said simply allowing in foreign workers to take British jobs “doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Reeves went on: “If we’ve got a shortage of data scientists, if we’ve got a shortage of nurses or doctors, and the Migration Advisory Council are saying we need to bring people in, then we should then be training those people.
“I think we could do much more to train up people who are already here in Britain.”
She threw her weight behind plans to devolve back to work support to town halls, with localised drives to get people off benefits and back into work as part of a focus on “incentivising people”.
Her warning shot to get more British jobs for home-grown workers comes as figures reveal 5.2 million people claim out-of-work benefits – with one million job vacancies.
A staggering 2.5 million are not working as they have been ill over the long term with some 400,000 not returning to work or looking for work since the pandemic.
Her comments come as net migration figures are this week set to reach an estimated 800,000 – way beyond what was promised at the last election.
Ms Reeves said: “There are many people who are not in work with the right support, could get into work.”
Reeves, who was billed as the most influential Labour figure last week in a top 50 survey, added: “We also see big problems with things like the apprenticeship levy, where businesses don’t have the flexibility to use it in a way to get the skills they need in their business.
“We’ve already set out how we would reform that because we want people already here in Britain to have the opportunities to access those jobs.”
She spoke as she arrived in New York for a three-day stateside visit to meet business leaders and political figures as Labour step up their bid to take over No10 next year.
Labour says they would devolve work support schemes to local leaders such as West Midlands Mayor Andy Street or Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham as they better understand the jobs that need filling on their doorstep.
She said: “We’ve also said that we would devolve work support programs to a local level because we think that local leaders have got a better idea about the skills, needs and how to help people in their areas get the jobs that are available in the economy.
“We also need a better system of childcare because we know that mums in particular often struggle to combine working life with bringing up a family.
“And a lot of people have left the labour market because of caring responsibilities as well.
“So there’s a number of things that we need to do, but I want those vacancies in the economy filled.”
Ms Reeves points to the state of the NHS in holding back the growth in the economy with seven million people waiting for an operation.
She says reducing this significantly will unleash individuals to fulfil their potential rather than being held back.
She said: “We need to have a growing economy to have the money to invest in public services.
“But strong public services are also really important for a well functioning economy.
“And the fact is, when you got 7 million people waiting for hospital procedures, it’s hardly surprising you’ve got so many people that are not able to take up work in the economy.”
Reeves will use a visit to New York to spell out a new policy to help investors and firms see the UK as their home rather than flocking abroad.
She will then head to Washington to meet senior Biden supporters as part of push to be a government-in-waiting.
Last night she mocked a recent event where Rishi Sunak said the Tories were the party of business leaving some entrepreneurs sniggering.
She said: “The Prime Minister said in his speech, ‘the Conservatives have always been the party of business’.
“This business leader said that they started laughing, noticed that other people around them were also trying not to, and they said that.
“You know, they’ve never been in a room where people have actually been laughing at the Prime Minister.
“But the idea that they could make that claim is a little desperate to make that claim after everything that happened.”
And she said she recognises the strain on the British people as the cost-of-living crisis grips with inflation and food prices spiralling.
When asked about a guarantee to bring down taxes for working people, she vowed: “I’d like working people to have more of their own money in their pockets.
“I would like to see lower taxes.”
A YouGov poll for the Sun showed 51 per cent of Brits believe immigration has been too high for a decade.
Reeves declared the five million on out-of-work handouts must be given the chance to clock on again to help the country thrive
Reeves will use a visit to New York to spell out a new policy to help investors and firms see the UK as their home rather than flocking abroad
Reeves promised Labour ‘wouldn’t turn to immigration as the easy answer to these labour shortages’
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