The head of the UK's leading business organisation has called for urgent government action to spur growth, including taking a "pragmatic" view on post-Brexit immigration policies.

In a speech earlier today at University College London, CBI director general Tony Danker said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak must act now to boost green investment, fix a lack of workers and avoid chaos over post-Brexit rules. Reforms should include big changes to welfare and child care to get more people back into work.

"When it comes to labour market activity we will have to be much bolder than we are planning, because we start with one hand tied behind out back," Mr Danker said. "The government don't want to use immigration to fill vital shortages.

"In which case - I understand that in politics - but it means that our policies on long-term sickness, on benefits and incentives, and on child care and on training - all these policies that that boost labour supply have to be twice as bold as other countries."

He added:"On immigration itself, surely we have to be pragmatic.

"Britain doesn't need to go without fruit pickers, warehouse operatives, and welders on a point of principle, it just needs politicians to do in public what they all admit is needed in private: immigration that is fixed and short-term, eases shortages, and buys us the time to get our labour market balanced again."

Engage with experts before introducing new legislation

Last week’s decision by the Scottish Government to axe rent freeze in Scotland from April is an example of why government should not get involved in private enterprise, according to entrepreneur Lord Willie Haughey.

He was referring to Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens co-leader, in what many have said is an embarrassing climbdown for the government, confirming that the rent freeze would go with landlords now permitted to increase rent by 3 per cent.

Opinion: Drink move could make Dry January look like Club 18-30

It is said that New Year’s resolutions just make you more miserable – especially if you’re a publican, confectioner or tobacconist.

And the start of this year looks particularly grim for many in hospitality, retail or any other sector that relies on the public being able to enjoy themselves a bit.

No help with your energy bills – or even certainty about how much you’ll be paying – after March. Cautious consumers, worried sick about what they’ll be paying when their fixed-rate mortgage deals come to an end, understandably watching every penny. Changes to business rates reliefs and no specific support for the hardest-pressed sectors. Not to mention staffing issues and other cost hikes.

And now, if you sell alcohol in your business, there are moves afoot that could make Dry January look like an all-inclusive Club 18-30 beach party.

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