Commenting on Angela Eagle MP’s speech at Labour Party Conference, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“This was a very political speech, more concerned with addressing the Conference than the business community. Much of this is Labour doctrine from before the change of leadership and it is still not clear what Labour policy will be in regards to business.

“It is welcome that the Shadow Business Secretary wants to partner with business, as it is a trait of the most successful economies in the world. However, it will need to be a true partnership, not the usual master servant relationship that government tends to favour.

“We welcome recognition of some of the fundamental issues facing business, such as access to finance, innovation and skills – as they are key to building a strong, sustainable economy. In addition, businesses will welcome a focus on driving quality in apprenticeships and reforming the EU. It is, however, disappointing that infrastructure was not mentioned as it is a key area of economic development.

“We would hope that Labour uses this opportunity to consult with businesses and economists, to get a thorough understanding of the economy and the importance of wealth creators for this country.

“The Opposition must also be careful that application of industrial policy does not equate to picking winners and propping up ailing industries. It would be better to create an environment in which all businesses can prosper and grow, and where winners can pick themselves.”