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Urgent need for Labour to kick-start economic growth, say business groups
05 July 2024

Business groups have said the new Labour Government will have "a lot" in its in-tray including an "urgent need to kick-start" growth.

It comes after Labour secured a significant majority in the General Election in the early hours of Friday, with Sir Keir Starmer now set to take over as Prime Minister from Rishi Sunak.

The run-up to the general election saw both parties focus heavily on the economy following a turbulent few years which saw household finances hammered by soaring inflation.

Trade bodies and business groups indicated on Friday morning that there is an opportunity for the new Government to drive growth in the coming year.

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Executive of the CBI, said: "Delivering sustainable growth should be the defining mission for the new Government.

"Business stands ready to bring its innovation, ideas, and investment to make that shared mission a reality.

"The new Prime Minister has been given a clear mandate to take the tough decisions on areas like planning reform and boosting grid capacity needed to get the economy firing on all cylinders."

Labour’s economic plans include a new national wealth fund to boost investment, as well as the development of a 10-year infrastructure strategy.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, said: "Business will welcome such a clear result and an end to the political and economic instability of the last few years which is essential for companies to now bring forward much-needed investment.

"Looking ahead, the new Government has a lot in its in-tray to address.

"First and foremost is the urgent need to kick-start the UK’s anaemic growth levels of recent years and boost investment in our infrastructure, without which we cannot address the many urgent priorities the country faces at national and regional level."

Director general of the BCC (British Chambers of Commerce), Shevaun Haviland, congratulated Sir Keir.

She added: "The public have delivered them a clear and decisive parliamentary majority – hopefully they will use this mandate to provide the stability and certainty businesses crave.

"But after a gruelling election the really hard work starts now.

"We need to see action from day one on pulling together a coherent industrial strategy for the long term, which places a strong emphasis on harnessing green innovation."

Meanwhile, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: "The country has made its decision and we now look forward to getting down to business with the new Government.

"Retail is an important source of employment and investment in every part of the country, and through its scale and reach can make a big contribution to Labour’s policy goals. Finding ways to unlock this contribution over the next five years should be a shared endeavour between the new Government and the retail industry.

"Labour’s manifesto made some crucial commitments for retail, from reforming business rates, planning and the apprenticeship levy, to introducing a specific offence for assaulting a retail worker, and we now await the details of how these will be taken forward.

"Labour recognised that the business rates system is broken. With retail paying 22% of the total rates bill while accounting for 5% of the economy, it is the number one thing in the way of increased retail investment which could unlock growth across the economy. So we look forward to further engagement on the details as the work starts here in turning commitments into delivery."

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