UK Politics

Jeremy Corbyn offers 'deal' to businesses in CBI speech

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright AFP

Jeremy Corbyn has promised Labour will work with business leaders if they "live up to their side of the deal".

The Labour leader said his party would invest in infrastructure but expected action on low wages and workers' rights in return, while there would also be an increase in corporation tax.

He told the CBI that Labour's planned "national investment bank" would boost lending to small and medium-size firms.

The Tories said Labour only offered "spending, borrowing and taxing".

Mr Corbyn told delegates at the CBI's conference he would not tell them how to run their organisations but would not "stand back when there is injustice in the workplace or the boardroom".

He warned of "real problems" in today's jobs market, citing low wages, insecure temporary contracts and the gender pay gap.

"For too many families in Britain increasingly insecure work means they cannot plan for their future, or how to pay the bills, mortgage or rent," he said.

"There are far, far too many people struggling to make ends meet".

Mr Corbyn joked he and the CBI would both have been "shocked" if they had been told two years ago he would be addressing the conference.

But he said Labour had "plenty of common ground" with the organisation.

He vowed Labour would be "on the side of the innovators, entrepreneurs and investors", saying its investment bank plans would "unleash the creativity and potential of entrepreneurial Britain".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn said Donald Trump's victory represented a rejection of the economic system

He said both the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in the United States represented "an unmistakable rejection of a political establishment and an economic system which hasn't been working for most people.

"It's a system that's delivered ballooning inequality along with falling or stagnating living standards for the majority."

Labour says it would increase borrowing to invest in infrastructure, and Mr Corbyn urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to "change course and take the bold action necessary to support our economy".

He said Labour would increase investment in green technology and boost house building.

Labour's "settlement for business", he said, "will mean some increase in corporation tax while maintaining one of the lowest rates in the world".

He added: "But see it as a sound investment not only in your own business's long-term future but for the common good of the country."

Mr Corbyn also warned of a "chaotic" Brexit and said Labour would campaign for Britain to "retain full access to the single market".

Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin said: "Jeremy Corbyn has shown once again that all Labour offer is a recipe for economic ruin, while they're totally out of touch with the public's concerns on immigration as we leave the EU."

Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the CBI earlier, announcing £2bn of annual investment in research and development by 2020 and an industrial strategy aimed at spreading economic growth across the UK.

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