Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Morning Call
8 December 2022

Keir Starmer courts industry leaders in an attempt to strengthen the party’s relationship with business

By launching a review into supporting start-ups, Starmer is prepping the ground for a more interventionist state.

By Freddie Hayward

Another day, another Labour policy report. Keir Starmer will launch a review into supporting start-up businesses today, which will include proposals to create a state-backed group to link investors with venture capital firms – inspired by France’s technology finance scheme.

The plans also hope to encourage universities to convert discoveries in academia into million-pound companies. The UK has not excelled at this before. The struggle to monetise the discovery of the super-material graphene at Manchester University is one example.

Much like Gordon Brown’s devolution proposals on Monday, this review is part of Labour’s broader focus on economic growth. And the same caveat applies: these are policy proposals not Labour’s plans for government. We won’t know what Labour would do in government until we all sit down to read the manifesto (don’t pretend you won’t).

Beyond the policy proposals, the report signals the strength of the relationship between Labour and business. If you were to speak to members of the shadow cabinet they’ll often be complaining/welcoming another night spent courting businesses. Suits were omnipresent at the party conference in Liverpool in September, and donors have returned with the cash. The party’s courtship with industry has only deepened since the implosion of Liz Truss‘s government. It helps when your opponent is forced from office because of the market reaction to their policies.

But what will that relationship with business look like? An “active partnership” is one phrase Labour uses. It signals a more muscular state and chimes with Starmer’s mixed messaging during a speech delivered at the Confederation of British Industry in November. Yes, we will try to minimise trade barriers with the EU. But we will expect British businesses to look to “homegrown talent” before relying on people from abroad.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Lisa Nandy, during her Orwell Memorial Lecture on Tuesday (published on the NS website), argued that “rentier capitalism has been allowed to run riot”, in a sceptical look at the effects of globalisation. “Every place must be able to make a contribution again to our national prosperity,” she said.  

Content from our partners
Harnessing breakthrough thinking
Are we there yet with electric cars? The EV story – with Wejo
Sherif Tawfik: The Middle East and Africa are ready to lead on the climate

Don’t expect Starmer and Rachel Reeves to rail against rentier capitalism today. Different tones, different audiences. And there are divisions within the shadow cabinet over how far to go. But Labour is prepping the ground for a more interventionist state, which hopes to influence businesses to change the way they operate.

[See also: Keir Starmer interview: “Am I aiming to be just a one-term prime minister? No, of course not”]