Labour's call to business: "Please work with us"

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Labour issued a rallying call to corporate Britain last night, calling for a drive to build up other sectors outside financial services

Ed Miliband addresses the business community

Speaking at the summer Labour Business Reception last night, leader of the opposition Ed Miliband said his message to business was “please, work with us.”

Miliband addressed a packed room of business leaders at Chartered Accountants’ Hall in the City. He was attempting to rebuild links between the party and a business community which has become broadly disillusioned with Labour, sending corproate donations to the lowest levels seen in years.

“We can’t go back to a world where there is one pro-business party and one anti-business party. Equally, we can’t have three anti-business parties," Miliband told the audience.

Please don't make this the end of your engagement with the Labour Party

Ed Miliband

"So my real message tonight is please, work with us. Please don’t make tonight the end of your engagement with the Labour Party. We won’t build the party we want unless we work with you.

“There’s no way we can create the society we want without working with business.”

Speaking he said, as “hopefully the next government”, Miliband called for a wider focus on different parts of the business community outside the Square Mile. “Of course financial services matter,” he said. “But we’ve got to celebrate other parts of business.

“We need to celebrate the businesses that reflect the value of the country.”

He said this process should begin with education, urging a “really different vocational system”, to make sure those who were less academic did not lose out.

Other  Labour MPs echoed the calls to work with business, with shadow chancellor Ed Balls sounding a conciliatory note over the coalition government's growth strategy. The former City minister reiterated calls for business to re-engage with the party. He said there was “no way forward for our country” without a credible deficit reduction plan, but warned that a deficit reduction plan was “not in itself enough going to secure our future as an economy.”

As part of the party’s ongoing attempts to woo corporate Britain, Labour also announced yesterday a new drive to train business people to become candidates for either Westminster elections or local councils. The opposition party promised mentoring for those wanted to make the move from business into politics.

In a further attempt to encourage the corporate community, potential applicants do not even have to be Labour members to apply to the “special stream” of the party’s future candidates programme - though will be expected to “share Labour values.”

“We are going through very difficult times,” Miliband told the audience last night. “The question is what to do about it. We’ve got to rebuild our economy in a very different way in the future.

"We’ve got to challenge the way we do things in this country.”


Helen Roxburgh


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  • Comment by Zahran

    It is plausible that the government is looking at PPP as a way out. However the balance achieved would largely decide the prospective nature of any initiative. In any economy both parties have a complementary role to play in addressing both prevailing and burgeoning challenges as was exemplified by many economies already in their success route.

  • Comment by Viktor Huliganov

    These politicians pay lip service to business but in their hearts they regard us the the ones they have the right to milk and to control, and then take all the credit for the value made in the economy by the people of business.

  • Comment by Anonymous

    This is quite beyond the pale. How the Labour Party, and in particular Ed Balls, can be so two faced is totally incredible. A party that systematically ruined our economy has the 'Balls' to suggest working with them is rather like asking G4S to run our national security1

  • Comment by Stuart Jones

    Reading this as the owner of a small business with small business clients, Miliband's call " to challenge the way we do things in this country" would appear to be more talk than action. Where is the challenge when small businesses are not mentioned yet "business leaders", "corporate donations", "corporate Britain" and "corporate community" feature so heavily. It just seems to be more of the same. Perhaps instead of saying "We can't have three anti-business parties" he would be better saying "We can't have three anti-small business parties"?