It is sometimes said that Labour is ‘anti-business’, but obviously that cannot be true. Labour wants employment and a healthy economy and business is what provides it. So where does the charge come from?

Quiz question – who said this?

 ….too often in recent years, we have also seen another, unacceptable, face of capitalism.

A minority of firms are falling short of the high standards we expect of them. Some have deliberately broken rules that are designed to protect their workers.

Others have ignored the concerns of their shareholders by awarding pay rises to bosses that far outstrip the company’s performance.

Most business leaders I speak to abhor this kind of behaviour. They know that when firms listen to their workers and are responsive to their shareholders, they can see the benefits on the bottom line.

The problem comes when a small minority of executives narrowly put their own short-term interests first.

Our future success as a nation, and the security and prosperity of every family in every part of the UK, depends on our economy thriving in the years ahead. That future success is undermined by the excesses and irresponsibility of a few.

Was it (a) John McDonald (b) Ed Milliband (c) Theresa May (d) Vince Cable?

It was the present Conservative Prime Minister, in the Mail on Sunday August 2017. All parties worry about the rotten apples. We have, after all, suffered a recession caused by the poor judgement of risk-taking bankers. Philip Green was called “the unacceptable face of capitalism” when, in 2016, he sold milked British Home Stores for vast sums in personal profit before selling it off £1, leaving debts of debts of £1bn and a pension deficit of £571m. Shops closed, jobs lost and pensions left unprotected. Conservative Prime ministers do not approve of such behaviour.

The phrase “unacceptable face of capitalism” was first used by another Conservative Prime Minister, Ted Heath, in 1973. Tiny Rowland, managing director of Lonrho, was breaking sanctions on what was then called Rhodesia and ignoring his fellow directors.

So the problem, as agreed by all parties, is that too often rogue individuals or greedy firms behave in an immoral and selfish way, because our system allows them to. Greed is encouraged and rewarded with insufficient protection for the majority. Expressing concern over such behaviour, and the flaws in our system that allow for it, is not being anti-business. It was Theresa May who suggested firms should have more employees on their boards and make companies have an annual vote on executive pay although, as usual, she backed down under pressure from extremists in her own party.

Second Quiz Question – who said this:

The majority of businesses play by the rules: they pay their taxes and their workers reasonably and on time, and they operate with respect for the environment and local communities. That is why it is vital that government ensures that businesses doing the right thing are rewarded rather than undercut or outbid by those unscrupulous few that cut corners, whether on taxes, workers’ conditions, environmental standards, or consumer safety and protection.

Was it (a) Vince Cable (b) Jeremy Corbyn (c) Theresa May (d) The CBI?

No, this time it is taken from the Labour Party Manifesto. If you can’t tell the difference between Theresa May and the labour Party, don’t worry. She steals so many of the Labour Party’s good ideas to get votes it is easy to get confused. But the real difference is that Labour actually means it.  And, if you read it carefully, the Labour Party Industrial Strategy makes a lot of sense, helping to support business.

Here it is:

http://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Richer-Britain-Richer-Lives-Labours-Industrial-Strategy.pdf

And here is the manifesto:

https://labour.org.uk/manifesto/

And another group you may not have heard of:

Labour Business is the bridge between the Labour Party and the business community.  … Its mission is to bust the myth that the Tories are the party of business, and to establish Labour as the natural party of business by advocating a partnership between government, businesses and trade unions for a new and more sustainable kind of economic growth. – http://lfig.org/

A number of local Labour Party members run their own businesses, so we are very keen to see a Labour government to help them thrive, rather then running the country into the ground in the interests of a failed austerity policy. Final question, who said, in 2017, “It’s time to grow our way out of austerity”? Yes, of course, the Confederation of British Industries. Don’t be misled.  Labour Likes Business and Business Needs Labour.

Paul Eustice

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