Johnson vows to press ahead with ‘long-awaited’ overhaul of Britain’s post-Brexit economy

Johnson vows to press ahead with ‘long-awaited’ overhaul of Britain’s post-Brexit economy
Johnson vows to press ahead with ‘long-awaited’ overhaul of Britain’s post-Brexit economy

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rides on an electric bike as he tours the wings at the Conservative Conference in Manchester on October 5, 2021. afp_tickers

This content was published on Oct 06, 2021 – Jul 06:34,

October 06, 2021 – 06:34

(AFP)

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rallied his Conservative party supporters on Wednesday, pledging wide-ranging reforms to end the United Kingdom’s economy’s dependence on less expensive foreign labor after Brexit.

Johnson sought to reduce the importance of the current rush to petrol distribution stations to buy the material, the running out of consumer goods from shops, and the warning of stores that the crisis may extend until Christmas, and he stressed that the difficulties would be short-lived.

At the conclusion of a Conservative conference, the first in attendance since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Johnson criticized the opposition Labor Party.

Johnson’s 45-minute speech did not include announcing any details of a new policy except for a “scaling up” bonus for math and science teachers in disadvantaged areas, and promises of a new road and rail infrastructure program in the former Labor stronghold in northern England.

– change direction –

More broadly, Johnson viewed the UK’s exit from the European Union as a historic opportunity to rebuild the country.

“We are dealing with the biggest underlying issues in our economy and society, problems that no previous government had the courage to deal with,” the prime minister said.

“We are now beginning to change the long-awaited direction in the UK economy,” he added, vowing not to return to the pre-Brexit model of “uncontrolled immigration”.

Instead, British businesses will have to invest in their people and technology to move the country “in the direction of an economy based on high wages, high skill and high productivity”.

But he noted that the transition will take time. Meanwhile, the government has reluctantly agreed to grant a limited number of short-term visas to attract truck drivers and poultry workers from Eastern Europe.

For their part, the opposition parties and anti-poverty campaigners considered that Johnson’s pledge to “raise the level” in light of unbalanced growth exacerbates the situation as it coincides with the end of the effects of weekly support to help low-income workers.

Johnson sought to draw a line between the performance of his government and previous governments, which he considered to have lacked “boldness”, despite the fact that power has been in the hands of the Conservative Party since 2010.

On the other hand, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, who is considered by many analysts as the most likely candidate to succeed Johnson, stresses the need to continue the policy of fiscal discipline that has long been pursued by the Conservatives.

– Silence on the climate –

The government insists the pandemic is to blame for the severe labor shortage affecting the UK economy, not its hard-line approach to Brexit.

But the supply crunch risks undermining the issues Johnson emphasized in his speech, including the push for a “global Britain” after its departure from the European Union.

He praised a new alliance with the United States and Australia called “Ocos”, which angered France by pushing Canberra to cancel a huge contract to buy French submarines.

Downplaying objections to this alliance, Johnson emphasized the growing importance of trade cooperation and relations with the Indo-Pacific region.

Johnson touched on Britain’s action on climate change and the need for international cooperation, ahead of the upcoming COP26 Conference in Scotland from October 31.

He said the conference in Glasgow would be “the summit of our generation”, but did not give details of Britain’s carbon neutral goals.

The lighting on the fight against climate change during the Conservative Conference was limited to photo ops on electric bikes and carbon-neutral housing.

And on Monday, Sunak said that leaving the debt burden caused by the epidemic to future generations would be “immoral”, but without mentioning the climate change file.

Rebecca Newsom, policy officer at Greenpeace UK, said ignoring the climate issue was a “bad sign” ahead of COP26.

– Brexit –

By contrast, Brexit has been a recurring focus for Johnson’s party, which stresses that the current problems with Brexit are temporary.

Brexit minister David Frost warned of the “anti-growth ideas” and “enduring misery” of “anti-transport and anti-car” lobbies.

Home Secretary Priti Patel used her speech at the conference on Tuesday to pledge tougher action against climate protesters who are blocking streets across London. And she considered that the demonstrators “lack a sense of responsibility.”

Johnson described the protesters as “irresponsible”.

But COP26 chief Alok Sharma denied the party was being soft on climate change, less than a month before Glasgow was due to receive delegates from around the world to attend the conference.

 
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