Under fireplace, UK PM Johnson tries to return to election agenda

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MANCHESTER, England, Oct 5 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will return his focus to tackling regional inequality on Wednesday, hoping a closing speech at his Conservative Party’s convention will draw a line beneath a collection of crises buffeting his authorities.

After per week when Johnson has been pressured to defend his authorities in opposition to complaints over gas shortages, fears for Christmas meals provides and farmers having to destroy their produce, the prime minister hopes to reset his agenda.

So far on the convention, historically utilized by leaders to fireside up the celebration devoted, he has failed to show the main target away from crises fuelled by COVID-19 and Brexit, and in direction of his 2019 election pledges to sort out inequality, crime and social care.

He will double down on his need for Britain to alter route, away from the “same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills and low productivity” to “a high wage, high skill, high productivity economy”.

“We are dealing with the biggest underlying issues of our economy and society. The problems that no government has had the guts to tackle before,” he’ll inform the convention within the northern English metropolis of Manchester.

“To deliver that change we will get on with our job of uniting and levelling up across the UK – the greatest project that any government can embark on,” he’ll say, in line with excerpts of his speech.

Answering critics who’ve referred to as for extra measures to usher in international employees to plug gaps within the haulage and agriculture industries, Johnson will once more say the answer doesn’t lie in pulling “the same old lever of uncontrolled migration”.

Instead, he’ll name on companies to do extra to raise wages and appeal to extra employees – a criticism of British firms that minister after minister on the convention has repeated.

But he must work arduous to win over some on the convention, who concern the Conservatives are not conservative after breaking with a dedication to decrease taxes and, as they see it, abandoning the celebration’s extra prosperous southern English supporters for these within the north.

Johnson is elevating taxes to assist sort out crisies in well being and social care and has made massive spending commitments on every thing from trains to varsities to excessive streets as a part of his “levelling up” agenda to sort out regional inequality.

“Levelling up works for the whole country – and is the right and responsible policy,” he’ll say.

“Because it helps to take the pressure off parts of the overheating south east, while simultaneously offering hope and opportunity to those areas that have felt left behind.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Giles Elgood

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares his keynote speech in his hotel room before addressing the Conservative Party Conference the following day, in Manchester, Britain October 5, 2021. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS