Pro-Brexit business tycoon says UK needs more migrant labor

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Between its revolving door government and the worsening energy crisis, the UK wakes up almost every day to a new crisis. And hey, did you catch former health minister Matt Hancock appearing on the reality show I’m a celebrity, get me out of here? And just when things look like they can’t get any worse, an old political wound opens.

Lord Simon Wolfson, CEO of retailer Next and Brexit supporter, told the BBC he thinks the UK is struggling with a labor shortage and needs more guest workers and concluded: ‘definitely not Brexit I wanted’. At least 49% of the population would agree.

Late Brexit Ripples

The UK left the EU on January 31, 2020, but the economic impact of Brexit has gone largely unnoticed due to the pandemic. Now it is gradually becoming painfully clear that Brexit is contributing to the UK’s woes.

Before 2020, up to 430,000 EU citizens were granted work visas in the UK each year, up from 43,000 in 2021. But immigration isn’t the only Brexit-related economic hit:

  • The UK’s post-lockdown trade recovery has been markedly stable compared to the rest of the G7. Unlike cutting red tape in Brussels as promised by Brexit supporters, Brexit has increased bureaucracy and made it difficult to trade with EU countries, small business owners told the FinancialTimes.
  • The financial sector is also affected by the Brexit blues. Jerome Kemp, a former executive at global investment bank Citi, said Bloomberg end of October as derivatives trading shifts from London to EU neighbours, particularly France and Germany. “The reality of Brexit is starting to bite into market infrastructure,” Kemp said.

From the good side: Britain and the EU appear to be closing in on an agreement on how Northern Ireland, which shares a border with EU member state Ireland, can trade. Let’s hope the luck of the Irish can prevail on the line.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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