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Under fire, UK PM Johnson tries to return to election agenda By Reuters


© Reuters. Boris Johnson is Britain’s Prime Minister. He prepares for his keynote speech from his hotel room. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters] – British Prime Minster Boris Johnson will turn his attention to tackling inequality in the region on Wednesday. His final speech at the Conservative Party Conference will hopefully draw a distinction between a number of crises that have been plaguing his government.

Johnson had to defend his government during a week of protests over fuel shortages, concerns about Christmas food supplies, and farmers being forced to destroy their crops. The prime minister now hopes to change his mind.

The conference is a traditional tool for leaders to get the party members fired up, but he failed to move the conversation away from Brexit and COVID-19 crises and to the 2019 campaign promises to reduce inequality, criminality, and improve social care.

He is determined to make Britain a better place by urging it to move away from “the same old broken model” with low wages and low growth to “a high-wage, high-skill, high productivity economy”.

We are dealing with some of the most fundamental issues in our society and economy. These are the problems no government has ever had the courage to address before,” he said at the Manchester, northern England conference.

According to extracts from his speech, he said that “To bring that change we would get on with the job of uniting the UK and levelling it up – the largest project any government can undertake.”

Johnson will respond to critics asking for additional measures to draw in foreign workers to help plug the gap in the haulage or agriculture industries. Johnson will once again state that the solution is not in “the old lever of uncontrolled immigration”.

Instead, he will urge businesses to raise wages and hire more people – an attack on British companies made repeated at conference minister after minister.

However, he must work hard to gain support from those at the conference who are concerned that Conservatives no longer consider themselves conservatives after they abandoned a promise to lower taxes. They also fear abandoning party members in the south for the more wealthy supporters of the Conservatives.

Johnson will raise taxes in order to address crisies of health care. He has also made significant spending commitments to everything, trains included.

He said, “Levelling Up Works for the Whole Country – It is the Right and Responsible Policy.”

It helps relieve the heat from the south east and offers hope to areas who feel left behind.

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