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Business leaders buckle up for Corbyn cabinet

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Business leaders buckle up for Corbyn cabinet

Just over three quarters of British business leaders are preparing for the possibility of a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government, according to research by consultancy BritainThinks.

The survey of more than 100 senior executives and board members at companies with over 50 employees also found that 31% predicted Labour will emerge victorious from the next election.

However, 22% of those questioned were unfamiliar with Labour’s business policies, and only 32% thought that UK businesses were ready for a Labour cabinet.

Two thirds of business leaders said a Conservative government would better understand the concerns of business than a Labour government, with 80% viewing prime minister Theresa May more favourably than Corbyn in this respect.

While 38% viewed a possible Labour government as the biggest challenge to British business, 51% said Brexit was their number one concern.

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of business campaign group London First, which commissioned the research, said: ​‘Business has been focused on contingency planning for Brexit but a future Labour government is being added to the agenda.

‘Labour’s intention to invest in housing and infrastructure is seen as a good thing by many but there’s real concern that the party could scare away much needed private-sector investment.

‘It’s clear that business and the Labour party need to build much stronger links, ensuring a clear understanding of the plan for the UK’s future economic growth.’

A further 25% of respondents were most worried about high levels of taxation, while 24% were most concerned about productivity, 22% about lack of infrastructure investment and 21% about protectionism.

Eight out of ten said the government was not doing enough to support UK businesses, with 53% feeling that UK businesses are struggling and 60% predicting them to be less profitable after Brexit.

Deborah Mattinson, founding partner at BritainThinks, highlighted the uncertainty felt by both business leaders and the public and how this was impacting future plans.

‘Although these leaders still support the Conservatives over Labour, they are disappointed in their support for business and their response to the key issues of the day — especially Brexit,’ she said. 

‘With this, and the public mood in mind, most believe that planning for the possibility of a Labour government needs to be a top priority in the coming months.’

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