PA Cooperative News

Labour in London is listening to business

Jan 26, 2024

It was great to visit London this week for Bill Esterson MP’s Business Dinner – a networking evening bringing together business leaders and Labour representatives. I was there with a group mainly from the forestry and wood industry keen to engage with Labour representatives.

Mr Esterson, Shadow Transport Minister, was joined by Labour colleagues Rushanara Ali MP, Shadow Minister for Investment and Small Business, and Darren Jones MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury (pictured above). There was an engaged audience from diverse industries including Lotus Cars, Boots and much in between.

Many businesses are eager to hear Labour’s plans for the economy and how future policies might impact their sectors. Darren Jones emphasised fiscal prudence while outlining Labour’s vision to spur growth and restore confidence. His remarks resonated well with the crowd.

We were also fortunate to have Joe Morris join our table. Joe is Labour’s candidate for the Hexham constituency in Northumberland, a traditional Conservative stronghold held by the Tories since the 1920s. However, given Labour’s lead in the polls under Keir Starmer, a victory for Joe in Hexham would signal a major shift in Labour’s favour nationwide.

Overall, Labour representatives demonstrated a willingness to engage with business leaders and consider their perspectives while developing proposals. Their discipline around spending commitments was clear as well. Ongoing consultation will be key if Labour aims to sustain this open approach from opposition into government.

With Labour listening closely now, there is an opportunity for businesses to help shape policy positions. I encourage focusing recommendations on cost-neutral initiatives that can drive growth and prosperity for all.