26 September 2018

Press release

CBI responds to Jeremy Corbyn's speech at Labour Party Conference

CBI Director General, Carolyn Fairbairn responds to Jeremy Corbyn's speech at Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.

CBI responds to Jeremy Corbyn's speech at Labour Party Conference

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

‘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.

On climate change:

“Businesses share Labour’s ambition to tackle climate change and decarbonise the economy. The power sector has made huge strides in cutting emissions over the last decade. Labour should acknowledge it is competition and investment by the private sector that has delivered this change.

“Providing a route to market for onshore wind and solar power will speed up this process and help decarbonise at the lowest cost. It’s good to hear that a Labour government would back wider investment in these technologies.

“To meet a more stretching ‘net-zero’ target for emissions by 2050 action will be needed across the whole economy – from construction, to heat, to transport. Businesses have been calling for a long-term policy framework to incentivise energy efficiency. But again, the fine print needs to be worked through to ensure just how realistic this could be for the private and public sector to deliver.”