Badenoch: Economy under Labour would be weighed down by trade union demands

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch will claim a future Labour government would create “a managed economy, heavily regulated, heavily taxed and weighed down by trade union demands”.

The Conservative Cabinet minister will use her speech at the British Chambers of Commerce’s annual conference in Westminster on Thursday to promote her party’s “plan for business”.

The pledge features potential free trade agreements with India, the Gulf Cooperation Council and US states, an uplift in research and development spending by £2 billion, and abolishing the main rate of self-employed national insurance.

Ms Badenoch clashed with her Labour “shadow” in a debate which Bloomberg hosted on Monday, where Jonathan Reynolds accused the Conservatives of leading “a chaotic and unstable Government”.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch speaks at a lectern
Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

It comes as unions prepare a series of strikes either side of the General Election on Thursday July 4.

A British Medical Association junior doctors’ strike will take place beginning at 7am on Thursday June 27 until July 2, as the organisation claims junior doctors’ pay has been cut by more than a quarter since 2008 and has called for it to be restored.

Unite the Union members who work for London Trams in the Croydon and Wimbledon areas will stage industrial action between Sunday June 30 and Monday July 8, during the Wimbledon Championships.

Ms Badenoch will say in her Thursday speech: “The Conservatives have a plan for a future where hard work and doing the right thing are rewarded, not punished with higher taxes, or discouraged with unconstrained welfare.

“We celebrate aspiration and opportunity. We recognise that innovation and competition are the powerful forces that bring us prosperity and lift living standards.

“For Labour, on the other hand, private business is just a vehicle to pursue their political objectives – a managed economy, heavily regulated, heavily taxed and weighed down by trade union demands.”

Kevin Hollinrake, Minister of State for small businesses, has said his party “will go even further” if it returns to Government after the poll next week.

“Our clear plan will turbocharge growth and productivity across the country,” he said.

“However, it’s clear other parties don’t hold our vital small businesses in the same esteem.

“Labour’s proposals will shackle businesses with French-style punitive regulations and new, aggressive enforcement bodies, all of which will result in more red tape, more tribunals, and lower growth.”

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds sits in a yellow chair in front of a window
Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds (Lucy North/PA)

Labour’s shadow secretary of business and trade Jonathan Reynolds said: “This is desperate nonsense from a Conservative Party that has failed to publish a business endorsement letter this election, because they haven’t got enough support, and failed to secure trade deals with the US and India, because they’re distracted by their own chaos.

“The Conservatives have not changed. Their chancellor admitted their manifesto is unfunded and praised Liz Truss’s economy-crashing policies.

“The choice on July 4 is clear: stability for business with a changed Labour Party or economic chaos with the Conservatives.”

Meanwhile, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has urged the BMA to call off its strikes during the election campaign.

He told Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips earlier this month: “If there is a Labour government on July 5, I will be phoning them on day one and asking the department to get talks up and running urgently.”

Mr Streeting added “the money isn’t there” to give junior doctors a 35% pay rise.