Britain’s Labor Party works to be the ‘party of business’


  • Business was increasingly attracted by labor.
  • Donations increase, election chances improve
  • Conservatives hope to win trade

LONDON, December 16, 2010 (FBC) After decades of funding Britain’s conservatives, businessman Gareth Quarry has switched allegiance and started donating to the opposition Labor Party in the belief that they would provide more certainty and stability.

The 63-year-old entrepreneur left the Conservatives with what he called “many crimes” that had tarnished Britain’s centuries-old reputation for financial stability.

In the year Quarry is among investors, company chiefs and bankers flocking to Labour, which has been heavily dominated by comments against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives ahead of an expected national election in 2024.

“A lot of us are finding our way into the workforce,” Quarry, who made millions from two legal recruitment firms and now runs a health supplement company, told Reuters.

The perception that Labor has taken up the mantle of the Conservatives as a “business party” has been reinforced by meetings with Labor lawmakers and policy chiefs under leader Keir Starmer.

LVDI chairman Quarry said: “I realize we have a centre-left party in Labor that is committed to social justice and is resolutely committed to business – we’re not just paying lip service to it, we’re actually working with business.” Health and safety.

For years, company owners and business executives sided with the Conservatives, believing that Margaret Thatcher’s party was more likely to create the dynamic job conditions and consumer confidence needed to boost the economy.

But for many, that relationship has been shattered by the party’s support for Brexit and the decision to pull Britain out of the European single market, the world’s largest trading bloc.

Realizing that Labor has enjoyed its biggest electoral success in modern times under Tony Blair’s pro-business leadership, senior party officials have moved to woo businessmen.

Executives from banks, investment groups and venture capital firms told Reuters they had met key officials led by the party’s finance policy chief and former Bank of England economist Rachel Reeves.

“They’re asking a lot of questions,” said one major international investor in Britain.

Financial industry sources say Labor, which has addressed business leaders at its annual conference and recent summit in London, wants to use the sector to its best advantage and lift the country out of years of sluggish economic growth.

Growing donations

The high profile helped boost donations to the party, which has long been supported by money from labor unions.

In the three months to September, Labor received £4.8 million ($5.8 million), including contributions from unions, compared to £3 million for the Conservatives, the Electoral Commission said. This compared with 5.4 million for the Conservatives and 3.8 million for Labour, in the previous quarter.

Some Conservative lawmakers dismissed the data as little more than an error in the wake of a leadership crisis this summer that saw the party oust first Boris Johnson and then Liz Truss within weeks.

Individual conservative groups are still doing well, they say. Conservative Party headquarters did not respond to a request for comment.

Many conservatives said they hoped to win business support by appointing Sunak, the country’s former finance minister and Goldman Sachs analyst, who created a bold plan to support jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown.

But many business leaders are still fuming when Johnson, as foreign secretary, was asked about the business risks of Brexit, and after Truss reportedly used a descriptive term after sending borrowing costs high and Truss sending high borrowing along with unfunded austerity plans.

Quarry, who once attended a dinner with former Prime Minister David Cameron as a donor, has withdrawn his support for Johnson and has donated £50,000 this year as a Labor member, matching his wife.

He said Labor donors could see the party “hard to get into government and build a fairer, greener, more flexible Britain”. But there is nothing he can take for granted.

A shadow cabinet team is working on a tough message on public spending to remove any doubt about the country’s financial management, and tens of thousands of workers are leading a fine line on strike action after a strike on the railways, health. Service and airports.

Starmer has said he supports the right to industrial action but has refused to support the current walkout, instead blaming the government for failing to prevent the action – a strategy that a Conservative insider described as “clever”.

But, for many business people, the Labor Party offers tangible change, albeit with the worrisome idea that perhaps the rich will bear more of the tax burden.

Quarry suggests Labor plans to reform the Conservatives’ much-maligned apprenticeship levy by cutting and eventually replacing business rates with a new business tax system.

In return, companies want to invest more.

“That’s what I signed up for, but behind that[is the fact]I’m absolutely confident that they’re going to give me an environment that’s certain, predictable and encourages investment,” Quarry said. .

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton, additional reporting by Sinead Cruise, Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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