James Forsyth

Is Labour not doing the business any more?

Is Labour not doing the business any more?
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New Labour’s relationship with business is at a low ebb. As George Parker argues in the FT this morning, the changes to capital gains tax and the whole non-dom business have alienated many—something the Tories are eagerly exploiting. But Labour’s problems go beyond policy here.

Business had no fear that Tony Blair intended to make the pips squeak, he seemed entirely simpatico with their get rich agenda. Equally, Ed Balls fitted in well with City types who respected his intellect and proximity to power. Now, the City feels it doesn’t have a champion anymore. Kitty Usher, the City Minister, is on maternity leave with her job parcelled out to other Treasury ministers—there have been hints that this is why there was such confusion about the non-dom tax proposals. Alistair Darling has yet to win the respect of either the City or the business world more generally while there are still those who fear that Gordon Brown is more Old Labour than New Labour.

A key thing to watch in the coming months is whether Brown brings anyone in to address this problem. There has already been talk that Shriti Vadera, Brown’s former SPAD, will be drafted in to sort things out.   

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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