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‘Labour lacks business experience’ says CBI chief

Carolyn Fairbairn

Carolyn Fairbairn: ‘Labour must invite business into the tent’


CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn today said a “lack of business experience” was behind the Labour party’s “unworkable” ideas.

Responding to Jeremy Corbyn’s conference pledges on childcare, onshore power and childcare, the director general of the lobby group said businesses would agree with much of what the Labour lead said.

But turning those ideas into reality was another matter and was not helped by Labour’s “continual barbs” which deter investors. Earlier Mr Corbyn had made a stinging criticism of “greedy capitalists” and said it was time for a new way of running the economy.

The CBI’s director-general responded by saying: “Much of Labour’s vision for a more sustainable and fair country is absolutely right. Business not only supports it but holds many of the keys to making it a reality.

“From onshore power to affordable childcare, the Labour leader’s speech echoes calls from firms for more action on climate change and to unlock productivity. 

“But this will only happen if Labour invites business into the tent. Continual public barbs and backward-facing policy are deterring entrepreneurs and investors, at a time when we need them most. Profit and enterprise are the basis of jobs and growth, with firms paying enough tax to fund the NHS every year and much more besides. 

“Too often lack of business experience in the Labour Party fuels ideas that are appealing on paper or conference platforms, but unworkable in reality.

“Far better to take up business’ open offer to work together. Far better to recognise and build on strides already made, from cutting emissions in the power sector by half since 2010 to employee ownership schemes already operating in almost 9 out of 10 FTSE 350 firms. 

“Policy built collaboratively will help build a fair, progressive and pro-enterprise Britain. Policy built on ideology and diktat will do the opposite. They will harm those who can least afford it by driving down investment, productivity and pay.  

“There is much common ground between business and Labour, now let’s build on it.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Labour had pinched policies ‘wholesale’ from the SNP but had forgotten about how they would afford them – warning of a multi-billion pound Brexit black hole in Labour’s spending commitments.

Labour have proven they have nothing to offer Scotland but economic chaos and incompetence – failing to provide any meaningful alternative to the Tories,” said Mr Blackford.

“Jeremy Corbyn may have been forced into saying he would not accept a no-deal Brexit – but he remains committed, like the Tories, to taking Scotland out of the EU against our will.

“That reckless plan to drag Scotland off a hard Brexit cliff edge, outside the single market and customs union, would deal a huge body blow to the Scottish economy – destroying jobs, and causing lasting harm to the incomes and living standards of millions of people.

“While Labour have pinched policies wholesale from the SNP government, they have forgotten about how they would afford them – with a self-inflicted multi-billion pound Brexit black hole making a mockery of their spending plans.”

See also:

Corbyn backs green over greed

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