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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Business congratulates Labour on its General Election win

The Business Magazine article image for: Business congratulates Labour on its General Election win
Sir Kier Starmer
5 July 2024
Sir Kier Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party has won the General Election in a decisive victory, and now business leaders want to see action fast.

Winning more than 400 seats, against the Conservative's losses of more than 240, Britain could now be set for a new direction.

Businesses are now looking to some stability, consistency and strategy to help drive the economy forward.

In its manifesto, Labour pledged to introduce a new industrial strategy. The UK last set out a formal industrial strategy in 2017, but since 2021, the government has instead pursued various plans for growth.

Labour's manifesto also said it would support new technology, including open banking and open finance and "ensure a pro-innovation, regulatory framework".

In opposition, the Labour Party engaged with the life sciences, automotive and creative sectors on policy approaches and says in government it will set out plans for these and other "vital sectors of the economy".

Labour plans to create an industrial strategy council, which it will put on a statutory footing, with representation from all home nations, regions, business and trade unions.

Its planned £7.3 billion National Wealth Fund over the course of the next parliament will support Labour's growth and green energy ambitions. These pledges include:

  • £1.8 billion to upgrade ports and build supply chains across the UK
  • £1.5 billion to new gigafactories so our automotive industry leads the world
  • £2.5 billion to rebuild our steel industry
  • £1 billion to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture
  • £500 million to support the manufacturing of green hydrogen

It will also act to increase investment from pension funds in UK markets, a policy introduced by the outgoing government.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, the manufacturer's organisation, said: "I congratulate Sir Keir Starmer on leading his party to a decisive victory. Business will welcome such a clear result and an end to the political and economic instability of the last few years which is essential for companies to now bring forward much needed investment.

“Looking ahead, the new Government has a lot in its in-tray to address. First and foremost is the urgent need to kick start the UK’s anaemic growth levels of recent years and, boost investment in our infrastructure, without which we cannot address the many urgent priorities the Country faces at national and regional level. 

“A modern, long-term industrial strategy which tackles the skills crisis in particular will be key to delivering this growth. Manufacturers stand ready to work with the new Government and all stakeholders as a matter of urgency to help deliver this.”

Phil Smith, Managing Director at business support organisation, Business West, added: “We congratulate the new Prime Minister and his government. We look forward to working with our newly elected Members of Parliament to make our region the best place to live, learn and work. 

"We welcome the Labour Party’s commitment to an enduring partnership with business to deliver the economic growth and stability that we need. We also welcome the commitment to involving industry, trade unions and civil society in its plans for growth so we can contribute to building a stronger economy in all parts of the country.

"Our region has a vital role to play in driving UK productivity, increasing international trade and powering sustainable and inclusive growth. To do this, business needs the right environment to provide good, well-paid, jobs and deliver the investment that will help fund decent public services and improvements to living standards and infrastructure. 

"Our region has great economic strengths, and we ask that this potential is fully harnessed. We need ambitious plans to tackle our longstanding challenges to help kickstart economic growth. These challenges include transport connectivity, housing, and planning. 

"We would like to see initiatives that help people gain the skills and support that contribute to growing the economy. We also need investment in our emerging and growth sectors like green energy, alongside investing in the building blocks of the local economy that allow our businesses and staff to thrive.”

The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Shevaun Haviland, also congratulated Labour and pledged to work in partnership with the new Government to boost the economy. 

She said: “The public have delivered them a clear and decisive parliamentary majority – hopefully they will use this mandate to provide the stability and certainty businesses crave. 

“After a gruelling election the really hard work starts now. We need to see action from day one on pulling together a coherent industrial strategy for the long-term, which places a strong emphasis on harnessing green innovation. 

“Closing the skills gap, growing exports, boosting productivity and harnessing the power of AI won’t happen overnight. 

“And businesses will also want to see early movement on pledges around business rates reform and improving our trade relationship with the EU. 

“None of this will be easy, and our new Government should not be expected to do it alone. But our entire Chamber Network and the 51,000 businesses it represents will be ready to put their shoulders to the wheel and help. 

“If our firms succeed, then our communities prosper, the economy grows, and the wealth needed to support our public services is created.” 

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive at the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: "We congratulate Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on their election success. The new government’s commitment to an industrial strategy and its already published Automotive Sector Plan can boost manufacturing competitiveness, enhance trade relations and support consumers. The industry is fundamental to the achievement of net zero which, with the right conditions, will deliver the growth the economy needs. We now look to continue our productive partnership with government to ensure the long-term success of the sector and all those who depend on it for their mobility, services and livelihoods.

Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Tina McKenzie, said:

“Congratulations to the new Prime Minister and Government on their decisive election victory, and congratulations to the newly elected MPs from all parties.

“The clear result of the General Election gives hope that political stability can lead to economic stability and recovery.

“There’s a golden chance in the first 100 days of this new administration to plant the seeds of small business growth, and there are a range of policies FSB hopes the new Government will bring forward.

“These include measures to ease the cost of doing business and support investment and expansion. From tackling poor payment practices by big businesses to their smaller suppliers to reforming the not-fit-for-purpose business rates system.

“The upcoming King’s Speech should include a Small Business Bill to enshrine in legislation much-needed changes to better support small firms and the self-employed.

“Supporting and growing small businesses is good for jobs, good for communities in all parts of the country, and good for the whole economy.

“We’re looking forward to getting down to business and working in partnership with the new Government ministers and their teams – building on how we’ve engaged constructively with them in Opposition. This will ensure that the small business voice is heard clearly and the right actions can be taken to support existing entrepreneurs and encourage new ones.”

Other Labour manifesto pledges include:

  • Capping corporation tax at the current level of 25 per cent
  • etaining a permanent full expensing system for capital investment and the annual investment allowance for small business
  • In England, Labour has also pledged to replace the business rates system, so it can raise the same revenue but in what it says will be a "fairer way" - saying this new system will level the playing field between the high street and online giants, better incentivise investment, tackle empty properties and support entrepreneurship
  • Develop a 10-year infrastructure strategy, aligned with its industrial strategy and regional development priorities, including rail connectivity across the north of England
  • Make major changes to the planning system to speed it up
  • Invest in 5G and the rollout of gigabit broadband
  • Invest in the railway network - setting up Great British Railways

Sir Keir Starmer and his team are going to be very busy. We hope that business across the region gets behind them.


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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