27th September, 2021 – The Social Democratic Party (SDP) condemns the government’s creation of 10,000 temporary visas for HGV drivers and poultry workers. Instead, our party calls on the government to support the creation of emergency domestic training schemes to alleviate ongoing labour shortages in these sectors.
For too long, businesses in food production, logistics, and hospitality have grown used to a low-productivity and low-wage model, propped up by endless reserves of cheap foreign labour. This model favoured short-term profits rather than long-term investment, and made many of our fellow citizens substantially poorer – hitting the working class the hardest.
Instead, we call for a high-productivity and high-wage model that improves the livelihoods of working families and sees British businesses become more competitive. To do this, however, businesses must be willing to invest in training and upskilling their workers, while also providing them with good wages and working conditions.
In crumbling to the pressure of business groups by creating this visa scheme, the government has shown that it lacks belief in creating a new model which prioritises domestic skills and training.
“Britain is currently facing a shortage of labour in a variety of sectors – most notably in hospitality, food production, and logistics,” says SDP Leader William Clouston.
“This is largely the result of a failure of successive governments to train enough people in the UK to serve our needs as we switch away from open labour markets.”
“Over the past forty years pay and working conditions deteriorated in many sectors, to the point where many no longer allow Britons to support a family. Businesses have been able to do this through access to unlimited foreign labour to drive wages and working standards to the bottom. Thankfully, this process is ending.”
“The days of endless imported cheap labour are gone. No sensible person would expect recent changes in labour market to occur without some adaptation. The key thing to grasp is that the occasional supply line interruption is a price worth paying for UK workers to finally get a break – along with the higher wages they deserve. If that means that the range of sandwich fillings is temporarily diminished, so be it.”