LONDON (Reuters) - Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Thursday that he would focus on increasing the country’s economic output by improving productivity, but that overall growth could slow as Britain barred most low-skilled European Union migrants.
“What we need to drive is a growth in GDP per capita. We need to see our economic expansion coming from an improvement in productivity, not simply from bringing ever larger numbers of low skilled people into the economy,” Hammond said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in New York.
Economic data earlier on Thursday showed British productivity continued to lag other countries after several years in which growth has been driven by a growing workforce, which includes higher numbers of EU migrants.
Hammond also said Britain’s government was looking at the costs and benefits of remaining in a customs union with the EU, as being outside would have “frictional costs” for manufacturers such as carmakers.
Reporting by William Schomberg, writing by David Milliken, editing by Estelle Shirbon