As a charity, the Jobs Foundation is apolitical, but we are anything but agnostic on the issue of jobs, business, and poverty. That is why we listened intently to speeches delivered by senior political figures at all three major party conferences.
We are pleased to report that there was a positive pro-business, pro-jobs, and pro-social mobility sentiment at all three. Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey MP described an economic plan that backed “entrepreneurs to grow their small businesses and create worthwhile, well-paid jobs in their communities.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP celebrated Britain’s growing tech, clean energy, car, and media industries, and in a rousing finale called for “More growth. More jobs…. Less Poverty.”
The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP delivered the personal story of his parents small business, a pharmacy in Southampton. He spoke of the importance of small family run businesses in the community, before talking about how important British industry is in creating jobs and economic security. “We have the largest life sciences, financial services, creative and tech sectors in all of Europe. And we have near-record numbers of people with the security that a job provides. And if we want to keep growing, we have to create the conditions in which businesses can drive growth.”
At Labour Party Conference, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP delivered a speech infused with pro-business rhetoric saying, “The lifeblood of a growing economy is business investment. It is investment that allows businesses to expand, create jobs.” She also spoke momentarily about the relationship between jobs, business and poverty saying, “higher wages and greater job security have real benefits for business” and help reduce the number of children growing up in poverty.
Sir Keir Starmer MP followed up this sentiment by calling for business and workers to fight together for the jobs of the future, “Jobs that are well-paid and, in your town.”
Of course, conference season is always full of well-meaning statements, and the proof is inevitably in the pudding. But we are clear here at the Jobs Foundation that businesses are a force for good in society by virtue of the jobs they create, the training opportunities they provide and the taxes they pay to fund our critical public services like the NHS. For that reason, we hope to continue to hear more pro-business and pro-job sentiment coming from all mainstream political parties in Westminster.