In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Johnson called it the “Pret a Manger phenomenon”, referring to the sandwich chain’s high volume of foreign staff.
He said: “Look at Pret a Manger. If you’ve been to one recently, how many native Londoners served you? What’s going on?
“London is a fantastic creator of jobs – but many of these jobs are going to people who don’t originate in this country.”
The mayor blamed British youths’ work ethic, stating: “I don’t want to stigmatise young people because many of them do have the aptitude. But we need to face up to these issues.
“In some cases it can come down to the fact that the jobs are there and people need to have the energy to go out and get them.
“These are tough things to say for people facing hardship.”
This week, unemployment hit a 17-year high of 2.68 million.
But Johnson had nothing but praise for foreign workers in London, and argued: “They are hard-working, good people, and we need to learn from them and understand what it is that they have got that makes them able to get those jobs that young Londoners don’t have.”
He suggested the lack of energy among Britain’s youth was a key problem for Britain’s economy.
“There are large numbers of job vacancies,” he said. “Why are young people not taking up those jobs? How can we help them? That is the key problem for our economy.”
Johnson added that there are currently 30,000 mid-market and lower-skilled vacancies in London.
And speaking of his upcoming mayoral race against former London mayor Ken Livingstone, he said: “I am hoping very much to get re-elected but it is going to be a tough fight.
“With every ounce of energy I have I’m going to explain our great record. We have cut crime by a long way, police numbers will be up, the murder rate is down 25 per cent since I got in.
“I am proud of that. I am also proud of the massive progress we are making in improving transport in London.”
What do you think about Boris’s comments on Britain’s youth? Leave a comment below.