The Jobs Foundation hosted our second monthly breakfast on the morning of February 28th, this one featuring as its guest speaker Andy Silvester, the editor of City AM.

Andy talked about how Labour is working with the City to develop its policy platform for government, and whether the voice and interests of business will be heard as we enter a busy General Election year.

Andy felt that the size of Labour’s victory will greatly influence the degree to which they will be able to be a pro-business government. With a large majority, Starmer and Reeves can pretty much call the shots on business strategy; a thin one means they could find themselves at the mercy of their backbenchers and a shift back towards the left in economic terms. He also speculated that Labour might be focusing too much on “corporate Britain", involving themselves in talks with big business at the expense of “enterprise Britain”, those small and medium sized enterprises spread throughout the country.

There was an expression of worry from Andy around what he sees as the luddite tendencies of SW1, with too much fear around tech and in particular AI within the corridors of Whitehall, and not enough grasping of opportunities while they still exist.

Several questions from attendees were around Labour’s proposed upscaling of workers’ rights and how this might lead to business doing less hiring, or at least, avoiding the sorts of risky hires that can often lead people out of poverty. Again, Andy felt that the ability of Labour to listen to businesses on this topic will be greatly shaped by how many MPs they have after the general election.

Our next breakfast will have as its guest speaker Luke Johnson, serial entrepreneur and former Pizza Express chairman.