Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tories wrong to attack British business


Cameron’s Tory Government has been accused of not listening to teachers, nurses, the police and their own MPs; to that list we can now add British business.

The Tories have traditionally liked to think of themselves of the ‘party of business’, self-deluded as that might be, but this self-regarding reputation now lies in the gutter following Foreign Secretary William Hague’s comments last weekend.

In an interview in a Sunday newspaper he suggested that the Government’s business critics should stop “complaining” and “get on with the task of delivering more of those jobs”. He added: “There’s only one growth strategy: work hard.”

The “complaining” that Hague referred to was that last week’s Queen’s Speech contained very little that would actually help British businesses. If the Government really does want a return to economic growth then perhaps it should work with the business community to foster a healthy private sector instead of attacking it for not working hard enough.
Comments such as Hague’s demonstrate just how out of touch this Tory-led Government is. We have a flat-lining economy, the first double-dip recession in 37 years, the worst unemployment in 16 years and the Government’s strategy is to attack the very people who are going to provide the jobs and growth to get us out of a recession that was made in Downing Street.

The truth is that the Tories’ policies and ideology are to blame for the stagnating economy and double-dip recession. They are still wedded to the out-dated notion that active government is a hindrance to economic growth and their lack of business policies reflect this.

Labour is determined to listen to British business and do what is necessary to get our economy moving again. This means taking note of people like John Longworth of the British Chambers of Commerce who supported our call for a British Investment bank to increase lending to small businesses and who said of the Queen’s Speech: “there is a big black hole when it comes to aiding businesses to create enterprise, generate wealth and grow”.

British businesses are crying out for an active industrial strategy where government steps up and works with business instead of just stepping aside. This is the kind of input that British businesses require if they are going to create the badly-needed jobs in areas like Hyndburn. As I posted recently, long term youth unemployment rise 232% in Hyndburn in the last 12 months.

Instead of blaming everyone else for the Osborne’s economic policy failures, Hague should tell his own Government to work harder and support British business.