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BCC: Labour proposals unprecedented overreach that increases uncertainty for business

Commenting on the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s speech at the Labour Party Conference, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“This is a missed opportunity to reassure British business that a future Labour government would seek to build greater stability and confidence for business communities that have already endured years of political uncertainty.

“Let no one be fooled, Labour’s proposals are both a tax grab and an unprecedented overreach into the way many of our businesses are run and will raise serious concerns. At a time of peak Brexit uncertainty, when Labour should be setting out how it will support business confidence and investment, it is announcing policies that would deliver the exact opposite.

“The call for wholesale nationalisation could put investment in a deep freeze at precisely the time we want to be encouraging investment in the economy.”

“Why would investors here in the UK, and even more worryingly in boardrooms across the world, choose to put a penny into Britain in the knowledge that their shareholdings will be diluted, and their boards will be subject to significant government interference? Why would they list a public company on the UK market in such an environment?

“It’s one thing to support employee ownership and participation, which have had positive impacts on many firms that have chosen to adapt their business models. But it’s quite another to impose a rigid, one-size-fits all approach by government decree.

“At a time when companies are facing Brexit uncertainty, a simmering global trade war and a slowing economy here at home, they should not have to contend with a massive new source of uncertainty and concern from the UK’s main opposition party.

“Labour should be focusing its attention on delivering practical answers for business on Brexit - and on measures to help fix the fundamentals here at home to help people and businesses compete in an ever-tougher global environment.”

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