Labour needs to reset its relationship with business, one of the frontrunners for the party leadership is to say, adding that former leader Ed Miliband’s divisional rhetoric of “predators and producers” was mistaken.
Yvette Cooper will on Tuesday also promise to back government plans to cut corporation tax and vow that she will set up a prominent business advisory group that will advise her as party leader.
In her first substantial policy intervention since she said she would stand for the leadership, the shadow home secretary will reveal a very different tone to Miliband, and her views may well reflect the frustration her husband, Ed Balls, a former shadow chancellor, felt about the relationship the party had developed with business.
Cooper, who is believed to have secured as many as 50 nominations from MPs, will say: “We need to reset our relationship with business around a shared vision for building an economy that faces the future.
“Too often in the past our rhetoric undermined that positive relationship with business, and with the creation of jobs and wealth for the future. People knew how we wanted to stop exploitation in the workplace, but not how we’d grow our workplaces to create more jobs and stronger growth.
“They knew we wanted to stop consumers being ripped off, but weren’t convinced we also wanted businesses to grow and flourish. We can’t let that happen again.
“There will be dialogue and discussions about what works, rather than rude surprises that backfire.
“We can’t be set against the government’s recent cut in corporation tax for the future. Our rhetoric can’t be set against the wealth creators and drivers of our future economic growth. We can’t be set against business, and too many believed we were.
“We need to always show how we support jobs and business growth, as well as ensuring businesses show responsibility towards their consumers and staff. The opportunities of the digital economy and of ‘knowledge intensive’ jobs must be seized by both our government and businesses. Britain is in a strong place to do that, but without new skills, investment and dynamism we are going to get left behind.”
Cooper has built a strong group of supporters among returning MPs including Chris Bryant, the shadow culture minister, John Healey, a former local government minister, John Spellar, the shadow foreign office minister, Kevan Jones, a shadow defence minister, Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, and Sharon Hodgson, the shadow equalities minister. From the 2015 intake she has the support of Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley and Paula Sherriff, the MP for Dewsbury.
- This article was amended on 19 May 2015 because it erroneously stated that Ed Balls is a former chancellor.
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