With John McDonnell giving lectures at Davos, can business ever trust the Labour party again?

Labour Party Conference 2017- Day Two
Source: Getty

With John McDonnell giving lectures at Davos, can business ever trust the Labour party again?

YES – Denis MacShane, former Europe minister and author of Brexit, No Exit. Why (in the End) Britain Will Stay in Europe.

The World Economic Forum always like to have a token leftist gadfly, and John McDonnell is fulfilling that role in Davos this week. But business can live and prosper under Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn’s 2017 manifesto was to the right of any Labour platform in the 1970s and 1980s. Tony Blair’s 1997 manifesto and government, with its minimum wage, increased trade union rights, massive state investment in public services, as well as hikes in national insurance, stamp duty, and other stealth taxes was arguably more radical than Corbyn’s two decades later, but such was Blair’s charm and pro-market patter no one noticed.

GDP per capita doubled under Labour from 1974 to 1979, and the biggest ever increases in the FTSE happened under Blair and Brown. Whether a Corbyn-McDonnell team is electable in 2022 is an open question, but once Labour becomes seriously hungry for power, it gets real about the economy – and business (to its surprise) does well under a Labour government.

Read more: John McDonnell says nationalisation will be "cost free"

NO – Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford

Businesses can only flourish when there is a strong economy, but economic strength depends on stable public finances. The last Labour government blew out the public purse, leaving the country teetering on bankruptcy, whereas this week’s news showed Britain has the lowest deficit this century. We are the most attractive country to invest in anywhere in Europe.

Labour has a history of promising businesses one thing, then doing another. The last Labour government started with a massive windfall tax hitting businesses and investors. Jeremy Corbyn has plans to do it again, borrowing up to £500bn – 20 per cent of our GDP – to nationalise entire industries.

Trust us on our results. A million more businesses exist today than under Labour. Employment is at an all time high. Conservatives are committed to delivering prosperity and peace, providing opportunities, and supporting innovators and creators.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles