Two Labour frontbenchers appeared on the BBC this morning to defend the party’s business policy in the wake of mounting criticism that it was hostile to the private sector.
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt argued that Labour was “furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business”.
A number of leading figures in business have warned of a grim climate if Labour was to win in May’s election. The chairman of Alliance Boots, Stefano Pessina, made headlines last week when he attacked Labour’s policies for being “not helpful for business, not helpful for the country and in the end, it probably won’t be helpful for them.”
Meanwhile, Prime minister David Cameron wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that Labour had a “sneering hatred of business”.
Ed Miliband has warned that if elected, he would push for UK overseas territories to be put on an international blacklist if they refuse to co-operate with a drive against tax avoidance.
On the Andrew Marr show, Hunt refuted the suggestion Labour was the enemy of business.
We have heard from some businesspeople. We have got 5m great businesses working really hard across Great Britain, making money, as I say, and Labour is on their side. What is the problem our economy faces? It is a productivity challenge and that means the state has to play its role alongside business.What is the challenge for our business as well? It is markets. Only the Labour party is committed to ensuring we have got a successful UK working in Europe delivering those markets for modern British business. So we are a furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business party.
Meanwhile on the Sunday Politics chief secretary to the treasury Chris Leslie said Labour would be unlikely to increase corporation tax because of the "effect it would have on business".