Brexit freed Britain from cheap foreign labor, says Treasury chief | Politics | New
In his first interview since taking over as Chief Treasury Secretary under the reshuffle, Simon Clarke, Rishi Sunak’s deputy, told the Sunday Express that “the fundamentals are there” for the Great -Brittany succeed and complete Mr. Johnson’s upgrade program. But more than the Red Wall MP thinks Brexit has given the UK the chance to have “a bright future” and “exceed expectations” with the post-covid recovery.
“I think it’s a loophole to say this is Brexit. The real story of Brexit, I think, is already the opportunities it has unlocked.
“From the vaccine program that just wouldn’t have happened at the rate it has happened if we hadn’t been a member of the EU to things like the freeport program that will make a big difference in areas like mine.
“The reality is that the heavy truck industry as a whole has an older age profile and there is a shortage of new entrants that goes back well beyond the last few months. It is also a structural challenge exacerbated by covid.
“There is no going back that we need to end the reliance on cheaper foreign labor, which is exactly why people voted to leave the EU. We have to work in the context that this is a problem that we have to solve at home. “
The minister is currently carrying out a major multi-year spending review, the first since the election, to be unveiled with the budget in the fall.
It involves dozens of meetings with department ministers each week, each one being asked to read a “keep calm and carry on” sign before entering their office for tough talks to make “tough decisions”.
Mr Clarke said: “This is the first opportunity to reset after the peak of the pandemic and return to this core mission for which we were elected.
“This has been the most extraordinary time of most of our lives and it is undeniable that we have spent £ 400 billion to respond to the covid crisis and to ensure that not only are healthcare services properly supported, but also families, communities and businesses. are supported at this time.
“It has cost the Exchequer dearly and it is very serious.”
But he continued, “The advantage is obviously that we are in a situation where, thanks to the immunization program, we are really in a situation where we can move forward.
“The employment situation is really very solid. There are more than a million vacancies in the labor market, unemployment has fallen for seven months in a row.
“I’m quite optimistic, we are in a position where the next few years are going to be very exciting. There will be a chance to exceed expectations and make the country feel very good about themselves. The fundamentals are good.
He insisted that despite the recent increase in national insurance to pay for care and NHS arrears, the party “is absolutely still the party of low taxes”.
He said: “At the end of the day, one of the reasons I’m conservative is that I think people instinctively know how to better spend their money on their priorities than government.
“We all hope the economy will grow and grow robustly. As it is, reducing the tax burden for everyone should be a top priority. I know this is something the Chancellor shares and we are fundamentally committed to lowering the tax burden as the situation improves. “
When he became MP for Middlesbrough and South and East Cleveland in 2017, Mr Clarke became one of the next generation of Conservative Red Wall MPs and said the upgrade program was close to his heart in as a native of Teessider.
He said each department needs to define how it will upgrade in areas like his in the northeast that were previously left behind.
Explaining what he means by leveling, the Minister said: “This is to ensure that the economy of the North and Midlands grows at a faster rate than we have seen before and than we do. We do not have growth so strongly biased towards London and the South East.
“Much more than that, I think it is about the human potential of regions like mine. The chances of life must also change.
“It’s not purely an economic issue, it’s about health services and the education system.”
Already, even if he thinks that the inhabitants of the North-East “walk an inch higher” because of the investments, the jobs and the new industries which arrived in the area.
“What an area like Teesside wants to see is that we are listened to and basically the last Labor government, although so many of its prominent figures have come from Teesside – Blair was Sedgefield, Milburn was Darlington, Mandelson was Hartlepool, Mowlam was Redcar – they didn’t. don’t listen.
“Brexit was the moment that crystallized.
“Our voice wants to be heard on social and cultural issues, but these are opportunities. Getting those jobs, highly skilled, high paying jobs that Teesside enjoyed when we had fantastic success with chemicals, engineering steel. The Teesside of my parents’ generation.