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Brexit-supporting Next boss calls for more foreign workers in UK

By Huw Hughes

11 Nov 2022

Business

Image: Next

The chief executive of high street giant Next has urged the government to accept more foreign workers to help solve labour shortages.

Simon Wolfson, who was a strong advocate of the UK leaving the EU, said the government’s current immigration policy was preventing much-needed overseas workers from entering the UK.

“We have got people queuing up to come to this country to pick crops that are rotting in fields, to work in warehouses that otherwise wouldn’t be operable, and we’re not letting them in,” he said in an interview with the BBC.

“I think in respect of immigration, it's definitely not the Brexit that I wanted, or indeed, many of the people who voted Brexit wanted.”

He said there should be control at the border “where it's damaging to society”, but said the government needs to let “people in who can contribute”.

Wolfson suggested companies should pay a tax to employ foreign workers to encourage them to find UK workers first.

“It would automatically mean that businesses never brought someone into the company from outside if they could find someone in the UK,” he said. “But if they genuinely can't, they'll pay the premium.”

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