Posted: Thu 16th Jun 2022
"We're a pro-business party", shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves declared as she launched a new Labour Party review of start-up funding and how fast growing companies are supported.
Speaking at the Times CEO Summit, the MP said:
"We have immense resources in the creativity and drive of our entrepreneurs, and the innovative capacity of our universities.
"Fast-growing firms already contribute £1 trillion to our economy and employ 3.2 million people.
"But something I have heard repeatedly is a real worry about the stubborn obstacles preventing many of them from scaling up, and the small number of start-ups listing in the UK.
"Labour's mission is to build an institutional ecosystem enabling the market access, finance, and skills that new and growing businesses need."
As a result, she said, the party will launch a review led by crossbench peer and former Treasury minister Lord O'Neill.
It will look at issues including finance for new businesses, incentives for growing companies, the role of universities to spin out new businesses, increasing diversity among UK founders, the geographical spread of start-ups around the UK and encouraging more firms to list on the London Stock Exchange.
Also contributing to review will be Alex Depledge, founder of home improvement website Resi, technology entrepreneur Tom Adeyoola, and Julie Devonshire, King's College London director of entrepreneurship.
Speaking to The Times, Lord O'Neill said:
"The more all political parties support the eco-system of start-ups for the UK, the more they become entwined in the DNA of policy thinking for the future."
A real privilege to speak at the #TimesCEOSummit today, talking about how Labour will make Britain the best place to start and grow a business.— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) June 16, 2022
Our new review will make sure start-ups here can reach their full potential, in one of the most innovative countries in the world. pic.twitter.com/2Bn7RgEkRH
'We're a pro-business party'
The new review is part of Labour's attempts to woo entrepreneurial voters. On stage at the summit, Reeves said: "I hope that everybody here has seen the change in the Labour Party under Keir Starmer. We're a pro-business party."
Labour has previously announced that it would scrap business rates if it got into power and replace it with a system that "will incentivise investment, promote entrepreneurship and reward businesses that move into empty premises".
Party leader Kier Starmer has also promised to boost funding for the government's Start Up Loans scheme to help 100,000 new entrepreneurs in all regions of the UK to get going.
Delivering a speech last year, Starmer said there is a "need to create a new partnership between an active government, enterprising business and the British people".
Commenting on the review announcement, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said:
"It's great to see the Labour Party supporting UK start-ups and cementing their earlier pledge that they are a pro-business party.
"We welcome the latest review of start-up and growth funding and would be happy to support it in any way we can."
What are thoughts on start-up funding and support? What do you think the review should focus on? Join this Enterprise Nation group and share your comments.