- Labor increasingly attractive to business
- Contributions increase, election chances increase
- Conservatives hope to win back business
LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) – After decades of funding Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, businessman Gareth Quarry has switched allegiances and started donating to the opposition Labor Party, which he sees as Can provide more certainty and stability.
The 63-year-old entrepreneur abandoned the Conservative Party after what he called a “string of misdemeanors” destroyed Britain’s centuries-old reputation for financial stability.
Quarry is among a growing number of investors, company executives and bankers turning to Labor, which has a strong lead in opinion polls over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives ahead of a national election expected in 2024.
“A lot of us are looking for our way to the Labor Party,” Quarry, who made millions from two legal recruitment firms and now leads a company that makes health products, told Reuters.
His view that Labor has adopted the Conservative mantle as “the party of business” was reinforced in meetings with Labor lawmakers and policy chiefs under leader Keir Starmer.
LVDY chairman Quarry said: “I realized that in the Labor Party we have a centre-left party that is committed to making society fairer and that is firmly in favor of working with business – not just (paying) lip service, but Really work with business.” Health and Wellbeing.
For years, company owners and business executives have sided with the Conservatives, arguing that Margaret Thatcher’s party is best positioned to create the flexible working conditions and consumer confidence needed for economic growth.
But for many, that relationship has been fractured by the party’s support for Brexit and its decision to take Britain out of Europe’s single market, the world’s largest trading bloc.
Aware that Labor had enjoyed its biggest electoral success in modern times under the pro-business leadership of Tony Blair, senior party officials set about courting business people.
Executives from banks, investment groups and venture capital firms told Reuters they had met with Labor leaders led by Rachel Reeves, the party’s financial policy chief and former Bank of England economist.
“They asked a lot of questions,” said a large international investor in the UK.
Labor has also courted business leaders at its annual conference and its most recent packed-out London summit, hoping to better leverage the sector and lift the country out of years of stagnant economic growth, several sources in the finance industry said.
more and more donations
The increased attention helped drive donations to a party long supported by union money.
Labor received 4.8 million pounds ($5.8 million), including donations from unions, in the three months to September, while the Conservatives received just over 3 million pounds, according to the Electoral Commission. This compares with 5.4 million for the Conservative Party and 3.8 million for Labor in the previous quarter.
Some Conservative MPs see the figures as nothing more than an aberration, sparked by a leadership crisis this summer that saw the party oust first Boris Johnson and then Leeds in a matter of weeks · Truss.
Individual Conservative groups are still doing well, they said. Conservative Party headquarters did not respond to a request for comment.
Several Conservatives said they hoped to win back business support by appointing Sunak, the country’s former finance minister and Goldman Sachs analyst who devised a furlough plan to support jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown.
But Johnson reportedly used expletives when he was foreign secretary when asked about business concerns about Brexit, and many business leaders remained emotional after borrowing costs soared as Truss planned unfunded cuts.
Quarry, who was a donor to former prime minister David Cameron’s dinner, withdrew his support for Johnson and has since become a member of the Labor Party, donating £50,000 this year, which was donated by his wife.
Labor said donors could see the party “getting serious about entering government and building a fairer, greener and more vibrant Britain”. But it doesn’t take it for granted.
The shadow cabinet team is insisting on a tough message on public spending to dispel any lingering doubts about its country’s financial management and is wary of strikes after tens of thousands of rail workers lost their jobs for health reasons and services and airports .
Starmer said he supported the right to strike but refused to support the current strike, instead blaming the government for failing to stop it – a strategy one Conservative insider described as “smart”.
But for some in business, Labor is offering concrete changes, although there may be sobering suggestions that the wealthy may have to shoulder more of the tax burden.
Quarry pointed to Labor’s plans to improve the Conservatives’ much-maligned apprenticeship tax and pledged to cut and eventually abolish business tax by replacing it with a new business tax system.
In return, they want the company to invest more.
“It’s an agreement that I’ve signed, but it’s based on (the facts) that I absolutely believe they will provide me with certainty, predictability, and an environment that encourages investment,” Quarry said.
Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton, Additional reporting by Sinead Cruise, Editing by Angus MacSwan
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