Credit: Chatham House
Responding to the launch of the Labour Party’s manifesto, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
“Although this is a short election campaign, businesses have been deluged with policy proposals, and it is a criticism of politicians of all parties that pledges have been made with seemingly little thought of the consequences. Some areas Labour have identified, such as the importance of a sensible immigration policy and investment in infrastructure, are clearly in the country’s economic interests. But other policies, like banning zero hour contracts, or introducing pay ratios for companies with Government contracts, are worryingly knee-jerk reactions.
“Jeremy Corbyn calls his manifesto ambitious, but businesses will be concerned about what happens when this ambition collides with reality. Individually, policies to renationalise the railways, water and sections of the energy industry, or to abolish tuition fees, may sound popular. But the costs would be staggering, the benefits unclear, and the related tax rises would make the UK a less competitive economy.
“From talking to our members across the country, it’s clear that business wants a vigorous debate between political parties. Whoever wins the election, it’s in everybody’s interest to also have a strong opposition challenging the details of proposed legislation. Unfortunately, the election has turned into a bit of an arms race, where parties compete to out-promise each other.”