6 November 2017

  |  CBI Press Team


CBI responds to Jeremy Corbyn's speech

The CBI has responded to a speech by leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, at the 2017 CBI Annual Conference.

CBI responds to Jeremy Corbyn's speech

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

"Jeremy Corbyn focused on the common ground between business and Labour. There is a shared aim: Industrial Strategy and Brexit must be focused on building a fair, innovative and productive UK economy where society benefits. But there are fundamental differences on the ways to get there.

"It is clear that competitive markets are the best way to improve people’s lives. Abandoning this model will hurt those who need help most and make the UK a laggard in the global race for investment.

On Industrial Strategy, Carolyn said:

"Both businesses and Labour are determined to find ways to lift productivity and improve living standards in communities across the UK. Proposals on skills, innovation and infrastructure have potential, and these should be refined hand-in-hand with responsible business to ensure they are funded in a way that doesn’t cost jobs.

"Labour should recognise that their vision of significant state intervention including nationalisation, PFI and government procurement, would undermine such ambitions.

"If a new industrial strategy is to stand the test of time, finding common ground with business is important. But Labour and the Government must work to find their own common ground so that approaches to skills, innovation and infrastructure do not continue to change with each political cycle.  

On Brexit, she said:

"Labour are right that agreeing a transition deal as soon as possible is mission critical to maintain business confidence. There is cross party agreement on this now and so this is the time for urgent action. 

On tax proposals, Carolyn said:

"The CBI has always supported efforts to crack-down on aggressive avoidance and evasion. All businesses and their leaders must take an honest look at how their tax affairs operate to ensure that we are all doing the best we can to build and maintain trust in the business community. We look forward to engaging with the Labour Party in this spirit on this important issue.

On harassment in the workplace, she said:

"Sexual harassment in all forms is totally unacceptable and has no place in any workplace in this country. Businesses take the wellbeing and welfare of their employees very seriously, but there is no place for complacency as this sadly remains all too common. The UK’s business leaders are determined to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace."