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It was Tory governments that created the low-wage economy – not immigration

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For the past week, senior Conservatives have been taking to the airwaves to talk about the new economic model they are apparently creating. A “ high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy ”, their new enthusiasm sparked by the shortage of workers since Brexit.

Though the idea has been discredited, even by rightwing thinktanks, ministers have still been repeating it – let’s face it, the idea of a brave new order in which everyone can be a high -skill worker, paid high wages, and so high ly productive that the government can still cut taxes, is seductive populist politics.

Yet it is a deliberate distraction from the real crisis in the UK, which is a shortage of labour for low -skilled jobs; and if supply chains are not to collapse, it is these low-skill jobs for which we will have to start paying higher wages and improve conditions, with all the inflationary pressures that will bring.

Ministers talk about automation as a way of improving productivity, yet machines to replace these workers cannot be magicked up instantly. Business, which Boris Johnson blames for not investing, has in fact over the last three decades poured millions into automating our supply chainsso much capital has been sunk […]

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