Brexit and 'failed markets' to blame for shortages says host
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The former ITV News anchor made a return to the GB News on Saturday with his show, Alastair Stewart and Friends. The 69-year-old was forced to take a break from the news channel following a fall which led him to breaking his hip. Despite being away from the programme for six weeks, the presenter wasted no time in speaking his mind about the latest news headlines.
During an interview with Reform Party leader, Richard Time, Stewart discussed the latest reports on the UK labour shortages.
Across the UK a number of industries are facing labour shortages, with coronavirus, Brexit and the furlough scheme being blamed.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reported the number of workers fell in June, by the fastest rate since 1997.
According to The Times, the Government is considering adding truck drivers to the shortage occupation list to deal with a shortfall of around 100,000 – making it easier for companies to hire drivers from overseas.
The GB News host began the interview by blaming the “failing market” and Brexit for the labour shortages.
“You know I studied economics, it’s what we have markets for,” Stewart ranted.
“Markets are supposed to sort this stuff out and now we’ve got care homes, we’ve got lorry drivers, we’ve got all sorts of people who simply can’t get the workers that they need.”
“It isn’t just Brexit, it’s failed markets,” the host raged.
In response to Stewart’s comment, Time replied: “In which case, the answer is very simple.
“As you say, you know markets, I know markets, I’m a businessman.
“If you can’t find the labour, you’ve got two choices. You either pay more or you invest in capital equipment to replace the labour.
“This is good news because the lorry drivers, for example, HGV drivers, they were the victims for over a decade of unlimited, relatively low-skilled immigration from the rest of the EU.”
“So, their wages actually suffered on a relative basis compared to many, including other people who work in the supermarket sector,” he added.
“It’s good news and I am delighted that the business sector and Kwasi Kwarteng are resisting this bleating and lobbying from the same groups who campaigned against Brexit because they want to boost the profits of the supermarkets.”
“We have talked about Brexit many times,” Stewart weighed in. “And your views are consistent, strongly held, and all the rest of it.
“But the simple matter of it is whether you are of your political party or whoever it might be, folk want to know that come Christmas food will be on the table and next weekend that baked beans will be in the cupboard.”
“There will be,” Time insisted. “Smart business people, when there is a shortage and when there is a pinch point, they will find ways around it.
“Guess what Morrisons are doing, they are filling up their lorries fuller and doing less trips to the supermarkets.
“That is good news for the environment, it’s good news for emissions and there is less traffic on the road.
“So, guess what, it is good news.”
GB News is available to watch weekdays from 6am.
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