Ed Miliband is bad for Britain's economy, say 61 per cent of business leaders

Guy Bentley
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More than half of business leaders think Labour will be bad for the economy (Source: Getty)

Ed Miliband has yet to shake off the impression that he and his party are anti-business spendthrifts who can't be trusted with the economy, according to polling from YouGov.

The Labour party lagged significantly behind the Conservatives on every question YouGov asked business leaders. In terms of who would be best for shareholders, Labour scored a paltry 11 per cent, while the Tories polled 78 per cent.

Even Miliband's efforts to put himself on the side of the British consumer have failed to cut through with the business community. Just over a fifth of those surveyed said a Labour government would be good for the customers of big companies compared with 49 per cent for the Tories.

Miliband will use a speech later today to reassert his determination to reform the country's energy market to get a better deal for customers. The Labour leader will pledge to give Ofgem the power to cut energy prices, as well as reiterating his energy price freeze policy.

Customers aren't the only group Labour isn't trusted to help among captains of industries. More than half of business leaders think Labour will be bad for people who work for large companies. The party has taken a tough stance against big corporations' use of zero hours contracts and tax avoidance.

When it comes to the big picture and who would be best for the economy in general, 56 per cent said the Tories and 18 per cent said Labour. While the business community may still be sceptical of a Miliband government, Labour's policy of ruling out a referendum on Britain's EU membership has been well received, especially in the City.

Miliband has had a history of fights with business, dividing companies between "predators" and "producers", and entering into a war of words with leading businessmen such as Alliance Boots boss Stefano Pessina. It's not just business bosses who've criticised Miliband's approach toward free enterprise.

Lord Mandelson, one of the central figures in rehabilitating the Labour party's image in the minds of corporate Britain during Tony Blair's government, has repeatedly warned Miliband against dragging the party to the left.

While big business leaders may be few in number, the Conservatives hope they will play a significant role in preventing a Labour victory. The intervention of leading businesses in the Scottish referendum was seen by many commentators as a crucial point in stemming support for a yes vote.

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