Labour is launching a new Listening To Business programme to hear the views of the business community following the general election.

Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna will kick-off the initiative when they meet start-ups at the Impact Hub, a business incubator in King’s Cross, London.


It will be followed by a series of roundtable discussions around the country this summer with large and small companies across different sectors.


Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“We want to be partners and not opponents of business. In the last parliament shadow Cabinet ministers met hundreds of business leaders, from those running start-ups to SME owner-managers and City chief executives.

Business 6 (PD)“But the disappointing election result for Labour rightly forces us to rethink how we build stronger relationships with the business community. We must do more to convince business that we want Government to work in partnership and support enterprise – and I am determined Labour rises to this challenge straight away.

“Businesses face continuous pressures and public policy can either help or hinder their efforts. I want a government that drives stronger productivity and tackles the obstacles facing those who create jobs and prosperity.

“As Labour reflects on the election result we must make it our business to listen and learn from companies every single day. Just as the business community is at the centre of our national life – generating wealth, jobs and tax revenues – so must it also be at the forefront of our economic approach.

“This is an important moment for Labour – it will be an honest examination of our manifesto commitments and we will not flinch from considering what we got right, and what we got wrong. Labour must prove we will work with business.”

Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said:

“Despite having a large number of individual policies which won support from the business community, and engaging extensively with businesses of all sizes and in all parts of Britain, it is clear that the overall tone and cumulative effect of Labour’s offer didn’t win favour at the general election.

“It is crucial that we learn the right lessons from defeat and win back the support of business. That’s why we are launching the Listening to Business programme, operating in conjunction with the Learning the Lessons from Defeat taskforce, set up by interim leader Harriet Harman last month, and chaired by Dame Margaret Beckett.

“I’ve always believed business helps provide the solutions – it is not the problem. That’s why the launch of this process today is such a crucial step, opening a new chapter in the Labour Party’s relationship with business.”

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