Ed Miliband leadership under fire from FTSE chairmen in latest survey

Ed Miliband

The Labour party’s business credentials have come under further attack from major company bosses after a survey showed that about two dozen FTSE 100 chairmen think a government led by Ed Miliband would be an economic catastrophe.

A poll of 35 chairman of the UK’s biggest companies found that 90% thought David Cameron would be the best prime minister for corporate Britain.

The Labour leader would be a“catastrophe”, according to 70% of those surveyed by headhunter Korn Ferry.

Responding to the survey, which was first reported in the Sunday Times, Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, said Labour would work with business to foster wealth creation and jobs. He said the party had policies that were popular with corporate leaders, such as plans to strengthen the UK’s skills base, an infrastructure commission and opposition to a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

“Business people have been very impressed that Ed took a decision on a matter of principle on the in-out referendum. It would have been easier to dance to Nigel Farage’s tune, as the Conservatives have done,” he told the Sunday Times.

The survey comes after 103 business leaders signed a letter in support of the Conservatives, although three of the signatories later distanced themselves from the document.

That intervention prompted a counter letter, signed by actors, business leaders, writers, nurses and a low-paid workers, focusing on the issue of zero-hours contracts which offer no guaranteed working patterns or income. Last week, Ed Miliband called for an end to the use of zero-hours contracts, saying he had decided to restrict the length of time an employee could be on such terms before an employer was required to provide a full-time contract.

Speaking on Radio 5 Live, Umunna said not all zero-hours contracts were “awful and bad”, but they had become emblematic of an insecure labour market. After praising employers, such as Asda and Brompton Bicycle, for not using zero-hours contracts, he defended Labour’s plan to restrict the length of time an employee could be on such terms before an employer was required to provide a full-time contract. “I think this will be massively helpful,” he said. “There are 1.8m zero-hours contracts now and I think this will transform people’s lives.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jennifer Rankin, for theguardian.com on Sunday 5th April 2015 14.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010