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  • Labour – a Government in waiting?

    Listen to Ayesha discuss how business should seek to engage with the new reality of Labour party policy and explore what a Labour Government might mean for businesses across the UK at Portland’s recent ‘Labour – a Government in Waiting?’ breakfast event.

    A Corbyn Government will be a campaigning government. Fighting austerity, promoting social justice, and building an economy for the many not the few would be dominant political themes.

    For business, this will mean a focus on ending zero-hours contracts, repealing the Trade Union Act, sectoral collective bargaining, introducing a real National Living Wage, among a host of other policies to improve workers’ rights. The tone of how government approaches businesses will change. Downing Street will stand up for workers over pay and conditions when it comes to industrial relations and Corbyn has reflected that in recent disputes.

    On policy, Corbyn would send early signals on housing, rail, regional investment, infrastructure including broadband, education (by axing tuition fees) and of course the NHS and Social care. Team Corbyn would want to demonstrate they can make swift progress on these important issues, but they must be mindful of explaining how to fund them and if necessary, making compromises.

    If there was an election before any deal is arrived at on Brexit, Labour would want to renegotiate transitional arrangements with the EU to have a longer period with full membership of the Single Market and Customs Union.

    If it was post Brexit, it is likely that Labour would want to re-apply for membership of the European Court of Justice as Corbyn is a strong supporter of international human rights. Depending on the nature of result of the election result which delivered Corbyn into Downing Street, there could well be a request to the EU for continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union as many of his political allies including senior trade union leaders would be in favour of this.

    Labour’s manifesto process, particularly on renewing Trident, and the recent Brexit re-positioning demonstrates some important scope for political accommodation and an ability to influence Team Corbyn. But their initial priority in office would be to focus on the issues their voters care most about – health, education and Brexit.

    Businesses will be listened to if they can speak in a tone Corbyn and his team understand, don’t have an adversarial relationship with their workforce and are not hostile to the concept of responsible capitalism.

    To find out more about why business should engage with Labour Party policy, download our online pamphlet here.

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