Business opposition to Boris Johnson is mounting today as the prime minister prepares to deliver his big Tory conference speech – claiming he will raise the minimum wage in weeks.
The prime minister closes his party’s meeting over lunch with a defiant message that, unlike predecessors, he has the “guts” to implement major reforms.
Johnson will insist there is “no alternative” to switching to a highly paid, highly skilled economy after Brexit.
No formal announcement is expected on the national living wage, but there are reports that it will be increased by 5 per cent to £9.42 within weeks.
However, Johnson is facing mounting concerns over his blunt dismissal that supply chain chaos is tantamount to a ‘crisis’. Amid warnings that Christmas could once again be ruined by shortages, he said yesterday that his “job” was not to “fix” all the problems for the industry.
The next chief and Tory peer Lord Wolfson – who supported Brexit – added his voice to the criticism this morning, saying there was “desperation” over the situation and the government’s approach was “not particularly constructive”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that not taking the problems seriously “leads to queues at petrol stations and the needless shooting of pigs”.
Boris Johnson (pictured running today) will wrap up his party’s meeting over lunch with a defiant message that unlike predecessors, he has the guts to push ahead with major reforms
The next chief and Tory peer Lord Wolfson – who supported Brexit – added his voice to the criticism this morning, saying there was “desperation” about the situation and the government’s approach was “not particularly constructive”.
In his speech, Mr Johnson will move to reassure voters in the Tory-shires that they will not lose out on his flagship plan to “raise” the North.
And in a thinly veiled swipe at Theresa May and David Cameron, he will claim to be the first prime minister in decades to have the ‘guts’ to tackle the deep-seated problems facing the UK.
The Prime Minister will say that as Britain emerges from the Covid pandemic, now is the time to ‘continue with our task of uniting and leveling up in the UK’.
The leveling agenda is seen as code for depositing money in underserved parts of the North.
But Johnson will also claim that doing so will take the pressure off the “overheated” Southeast.
It comes as reports suggest the prime minister will raise the minimum wage to £9.42 an hour in a bid to steer the country away from the ‘broken’ model of a low-wage, low-growth economy.
“After decades of drift and hesitation, this reformist government, this decisive government that made Brexit happen, is getting the vaccine rolled out and going to regulate social care,” he will explain.
‘We are dealing with the biggest underlying issues of our economy and society. The problems that no government has yet had the guts to tackle.’
Johnson will insist there can be no return to the days of mass immigration after Brexit.
He will tell activists that the government is “now starting the change of direction that should have happened long ago in the UK economy”, adding: “We are not going back to the same old broken model of low wages, low growth, low skills. and low productivity, all made possible and aided by uncontrolled immigration.”
The prime minister is expected to repeat his call from recent days to companies facing labor shortages to give workers a pay rise, saying: “That’s the direction this country is going – towards a high-wage, highly skilled, high-productivity economy that is the people of this country need and deserve.’
A Tory source said: ‘This is a message to businesses that if they want to fill their vacancies, they will have to pay people more.’
The Prime Minister will say: ‘The answer is to control immigration, to allow talented people to come to this country, but not to use immigration as an excuse not to invest in people, in skills and equipment or machines they have to do. their jobs.’
Johnson is also expected to announce an increase in the minimum wage within a few weeks, it turned out last night.
For people over 23, it will increase by 5.7 percent from £8.91 to £9.42 per hour, The times reported.
For someone who works 35 hours a week, the increase would be worth an extra £928 a year before taxes.
The figure of £9.42 would be the third biggest annual increase since the 2008 financial crash.
It will also bring the government in line with independent advisory body the Low Pay Commission (LPC), which estimated its recommendation for a minimum wage by 2022 would be £9.42.
In a thinly veiled swipe at Theresa May and David Cameron (pictured), Mr Johnson will claim to be the first prime minister in decades to have the ‘guts’ to tackle the deep-seated problems facing the UK
According to the Times, the government figure could be higher – close to £9.45 an hour – but it will be around this point.
The figure falls short of Labor’s demand for a rise to £10 an hour, and well below the £15 Unite figure that caused a stir at last week’s Labor party conference.
It eventually led to the resignation of Andy McDonald, who resigned from his shadow cabinet after saying the leadership had ordered him to argue against the increase to £15, rendering his position “untenable”.
Sources, meanwhile, said much of the Prime Minister’s speech will focus on his pledge to ‘raise’ the backward parts of the UK.
He is expected to support plans to build a new railway linking Manchester and Leeds.
But he will also reassure Tory voters in the South that they will benefit from investment in other parts, arguing that leveling “helps ease pressure on parts of the overheated Southeast, while at the same time offering hope and opportunity to those areas that have felt left behind’.