From education to employment

Labour must work with business to develop solutions to the challenges facing the UK economy.

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This week CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, Deputy Director-General, Josh Hardie, and Policy Director, Mathew Fell, attended the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.

During the conference, Carolyn and Josh met with Labour stakeholders including Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long Bailey MP; Sheffield City Metro Mayor, Dan Jarvis MP; and Liverpool Metro Mayor, Steve Rotherham. They discussed a wide range of issues including UK competitiveness, devolution, and Brexit.

Alongside these meetings, the CBI also responded to the key speeches from the Shadow Cabinet. Commenting on the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell’s speech, Carolyn urged Labour to meet business halfway on some of the party’s policy proposals to avoid cracking the foundations of the UK’s prosperity. She highlighted that business doesn’t disagree with the fundamental aims of policies such as inclusive ownership funds, designed to engage and motivate employees, deliver for customers and share prosperity, but emphasised that Labour’s current proposals would not work for the country.

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Read the full CBI response to John McDonnell’s speech

Reacting to announcements in the Labour leader’s speech, the CBI welcomed one of his key policy announcements, expanding free childcare to help women get back to work and improve the gender pay gap, but reiterated earlier responses to other proposals. However, pointed out that Labour must work with business to get positive action on climate change and to unlock productivity.

Read the full CBI response to Corbyn’s speech

The CBI also held a fringe event with the BVCA, which featured speeches by the Shadow Chancellor and Gordon Marsden, Shadow Minister for Education. These Shadow Cabinet members, alongside Carolyn and others, discussed how best to build a Britain able to compete and thrive on the world stage. Carolyn noted the importance of Labour working together with business to develop policies, avoiding a one size fits all approach that would not work for business.

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