Reacting to the latest ONS Labour Market figures, Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at the BCC, said:
“These figures show the tightness in the UK labour market is not shifting significantly.
“Job vacancies remain at record highs, adding to the recessionary pressure businesses are facing.
“We have urged the Government to immediately reform the Shortage Occupations List. This will help businesses fill urgent job vacancies from abroad when they cannot recruit skilled people locally.
“While some over 50s are returning to work, firms need to invest much more in training and upskilling, and politicians need to be realistic about the skills we need from outside the UK.
“It’s time for a sensible debate that looks beyond the headline immigration figures, as these include students and are skewed. They don’t reflect the real-life situation facing employers up and down the country.
“Brexit has given us control of our borders and Government must use the appropriate levers to help struggling businesses get the people they need.
“It’s no use talking about growth if we are not prepared to take action on it.”