Shouldn't we (ie Government) have a plan to rectify the bolded bit? We may well, of course, have to "import" labour/skills until we have closed the gap.
Yes. It's a consistent failure of most governments during my lifetime not to invest in it's people.
The cynic in me says that governments don't want educated people as they'll be unable to govern by lies and deceit.
To get where Sunak and Sunak-light (Starmer) want to be is a generational education and health change, it needs to start pre-birth.
Improved maternity care and maternity health
Decent nutrition from birth through education - bring back free school meals for all.
Invest in Teachers
Invest in parents
Invest in facilities for the less abled and the neurodiverse
Make sport/exercise an important part of the curriculum
Put Critical thinking and Life-Skills into the curriculum
Better interaction between local business and schools
Bring back the Polytechnic and invest in Technical schools
Maybe 2 generations....
Do the best to use and train what you can get.
Fast-track asylum seekers to make them fit for work
Rejoin the EU