Responding to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Labour Party Conference, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors said:
“There was not much space for business in this speech, with the new Labour leader striking a largely pessimistic tone on the economy. The recovery after the financial crash of 2008 has been difficult, but we would have liked to see more acknowledgement of the vital role the private sector has played in creating jobs and driving growth.
“While we are more positive about the UK’s current economic performance, Jeremy Corbyn did identify several areas of concern that will chime with businesses. Improving our broadband infrastructure, stimulating manufacturing and building more houses are all goals we share. Only a few weeks into the job, we would not expect the new leader to be able to spell out the detail of his party’s policies, but until he does, it will be hard to judge whether he has credible solutions to the problems.
“We welcome Mr Corbyn’s recognition that the nature of work is changing, and that many people choose to become self-employed because they value the independence. Britain’s start-up scene is booming, and Labour should be looking at ways to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get finance, such as by simplifying investment tax reliefs.
“Business leaders support deficit reduction, with over 85% of our members wanting to see the budget balanced by the end of the decade. The Labour leader emphasised the importance of protecting the economy from the next economic crisis, but this can only be done if government spending is brought under control.
“Party conference speeches are inevitably heavy on rhetoric and light on policy, but we hope to see more of a focus from the Labour leadership in future on the positive contribution of business. Mr Corbyn was keen to emphasise that values would underpin his policies. Business leaders also have values. We believe that competitive markets and innovative firms are the route to a successful economy and society.”