Responding to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at Labour Party Conference, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
“Let’s be honest, business leaders were not expecting to be praised in Jeremy Corbyn’s speech, but they will still be disappointed that there was not one positive thing said about the millions of companies, large and small, that form the bedrock of our economy. There was plenty of criticism for privatised utilities, for big companies and for employers in general, but it would be very worrying if the Leader of the Opposition really saw nothing positive in Britain’s business community. Labour may see themselves as a government in waiting, but if they are to govern, they will need to recognise that business is not the enemy.
“The IoD has always championed high standards of corporate governance, and called out companies where they do not come up to scratch. Our members pay their staff well, provide training and plan for the long-term. They know that the reputation of commerce has been rocked in recent years, and are trying hard to rebuild it through their actions. Their message to Mr Corbyn would be to not to forget the good they do in the rush to condemn the high-profile failures that have happened.
“The shame is that there are plenty of areas where Labour and business could work together effectively. The emphasis in the speech on the urgent need to boost lifelong learning as we adapt to the pace of automation is spot on. Over the next few decades millions of employees will need to retrain as technology transforms the workforce. Politicians can only do this in collaboration with business.”