Mixed response from industry for new Labour policies

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Mixed response from industry for new Labour policies

Jeremy Corbyn has set out his vision for new business tax rates and how his party would differ in the management of tax and welfare systems for the self-employed should Labour win at the next general election.

While some policies were welcomed by industry, both the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have highlighted a series of reservations regarding these changes.

CBI deputy director-general Josh Hardie said much of what the Labour leader said in his recent speech was to be commended, but there remains a risk that some policies could have the reverse of their desired effect.

"With such significant economic challenges ahead, the UK needs a strong opposition firing on all cylinders and providing progressive, practical new ideas," he stated.

"The focus on research and development, infrastructure and education is encouraging, but artificially hiking wages and changing corporation tax could be investment dampeners, not drivers."

Mr Hardie went on to add that the Labour Party has delivered a somewhat inconsistent message surrounding its vision for the future relationship between the state and industry. It is therefore essential that the discrepancies are "ironed out" before the country is asked to go to the polls and elect its next government.

He did state, however, the CBI supports many of the initiatives being discussed by the party and hopes it can play a part in ensuring future prosperity for businesses of all sizes should Labour prove successful in its bid to move into office.

Meanwhile, in response to proposed changes for the self-employed, national chairman of the FSB Mike Cherry argued that the ranks of the self-employed continue to swell in the current financial climate and therefore a focus on delivering the best deal possible for this group is essential.

"All parties need to find ways to support this vital and growing sector of the workforce to help them make an even greater contribution to the UK economy," Mr Cherry commented.

"We have developed a clear set of policy recommendations to boost the self-employed, which we will be selling in to this review and to the government's Autumn Statement.

"These include moves on access to finance, bringing parity on maternity support, which lags behind employees and reducing complexities within Universal Credit so that, for the first time, it addresses the needs of the self-employed."

Mr Cherry's comments follow an invitation from Mr Corbyn for the FSB to take part in an independent review into how the existing tax and welfare systems treat the self-employed compared to the employed in the UK.