Time to listen to those that make growth happen


The economy was a key focus of the Labour Party Conference today with major speeches by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Shadow Business Secretary John Denham and Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne.

First thing this morning I participated in a roundtable discussion on how the automotive industry can help to drive the growth of a low-carbon UK economy.

Later in the day I met with various automotive companies and organisations including Ford, Toyota, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the Retail Motor Industry Federation.

With the world economy in a state of paralysis and Britain’s own economy continuing to flat-line, even some of the Conservative-led government’s staunchest defenders are now having to face up to the need to kick-start growth in the UK.

In their conference speeches today Ed Balls, John Denham and Liam Byrne set out some of Labour’s ideas. But as well as policy proposals – like taxing bank bonuses to build houses, create jobs for young people and back fast growing small businesses – there has also been a theme of the importance of listening to those on the front line that can actually make growth happen.

John Denham put it really well today when he said that British businesses, working with Labour, can build a better future for Britain.

That’s why today I’ve been meeting with senior representatives of the UK automotive industry to look at key issues – like how we can ensure that Britain seizes the opportunities of low carbon growth, how we can boost skills and how we can develop a tax system that directly encourages and rewards firms for investing in the technologies of the future to create jobs.

Rather than simply rewarding the same big banks that are still failing to provide manufacturing companies in the Midlands and elsewhere with the credit and support they need.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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