// Boris Johnson rejected Next CEO Lord Wolfson’s call to hire more foreign workers to tackle labour shortage
// Wolfson, who is a prominent Brexiteer, said the shortages are a real problem for retail
// The PM said this strategy is “not the way forward”
Next boss Lord Wolfson’s pleas for businesses to be allowed to hire more foreign workers have been dismissed by prime minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson rejected Wolfson’s call earlier this week to allow businesses to hire the staff they need to plug workforce gaps in return for paying a visa tax of around seven per cent.
Wolfson, who is a prominent Brexiteer in the retail sector, said labour shortages are a real problem.
“The dearth of HGV drivers is just a very visible example of a chronic problem affecting thousands of restaurants, care homes, small businesses, hospitals, fruit farms, warehouses and more,” he said.
Wolfson added that Brexit should allow the UK to bring more flexibility into its immigration policy, but said the current system is “not geared up” to respond to demand as needed.
Johnson said this strategy is “not the way forward”.
Wolfson’s comments follow the BRC, which said last week that the government issue of 5000 short-term visas to address the HGV driver shortage in the run-up to Christmas “will do little” to tackle the scale of the crisis in the retail sector.