IoD: Businesses back Ed Miliband on Europe but warns over "credibility" of Labour's tax policies

Catherine Neilan
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Ed Miliband: His tax policies reveal a "large gap" in Labour's credibility - but businesses like his stance on Europe (Source: Getty).
Businesses back Miliband on Europe – but believe that his tax policies reveal a “large gap” in Labour's economic “credibility”.
That is the according to the Institute of Directors (IoD), which today said business wanted to work with the shadow leader but could not while the “gulf” around his tax plans remain.
Miliband today spoke at the annual CBI conference, highlighting the debate is raging around the UK's membership of the EU and warning – as he did in his column in today's City A.M – against threatening a so-called “Brexit”.
“Leaving the single market and stepping away from a trading block that allows us to work with the new economies, like Brazil, India and China, would be a disaster for our country,” he said.
“It would risk billions of pounds in lost profits, risk millions of jobs and would make Britain weaker, not stronger, in the world.
“And giving succour to the argument that the real answer is leaving the EU, or contemplating it, simply drags us closer to the danger of exit.”
The Labour leader went on to note the “issues of inequality”, saying the best way to create “decent jobs at good wages” was to work with British businesses “large and small”.
Institute of Directors (IoD) director general Simon Walker said while business leaders shared this view, “the real problem is that productivity is still lower than it was before the recession”.
He added: “Miliband is right that improving skills and infrastructure are absolutely vital to making companies more productive, but equally important is a competitive tax system and less business regulation. Labour’s plans to raise corporation tax, and introduce a ‘mansion tax’ – which even former Chancellor Alistair Darling thinks is a bad idea – show a large gap remains in their economic credibility.”
Walker stressed the need for political leaders to fight for a “more competitive and enterprise-friendly EU”, with independence for member states in areas including employment law and the EU-US trade deal.
"If Miliband faced down the hysterical misinformation campaign from the trade unions on TTIP he would win applause from the business community,” he added.
"Ed Miliband has asked business to work with him, but we would also like him to show willingness to reach out to businesses and understand how he can enable them to create the well paid jobs we all want to see."
Miliband is fighting for more than just the backing of the electorate - he is currently thought to be at risk of a revolt from Labour MPs challenging his leadership, after yet more negative polls at the weekend.
And after the jokes about his own memory loss, Miliband won't have been helped by an interview given by Chuka Umunna earlier today, in which the shadow business minister mistakenly referred to him as his brother David.
During an interview on Sky News, Umunna said it was important "we get Dave, er Ed Miliband into Number 10".

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