Fixing the economy is Labour’s ‘national mission’

By Oliver Hotham

The modernisation of the economy is a "national mission" that demands co-operation between business and government, the shadow business secretary will say today.

In a speech to the British Confederation of Industry, which is usually critical of efforts to regulate industry, Chuka Umunna will tell business leaders that reform of the economy was necessary to modernise the British economy.

"Proponents of business as usual – roadblocks to reform, reluctant to accept the need to change and modernise, wedded to the old orthodoxies – argue that the best government can do is to stand aside and leave it to the market," Mr Umunna will say.

"As a nation, we have a job of work to do to modernise our economy. The market alone won't get us there; government alone can't do so either. But is must be a national mission where productive business and active government work together in partnership."

Mr Ummuna will cite countries like Brazil, who have active governments which pinpoint and aid key areas of growth and argue the British government should do the same.

Brazil's economy overtook Britain's in size this year, and Brazilian living standards are expected to compete with Britain's by 2030.

Under Labour small businesses would receive help should they want to export, and the government would be more involved in helping the British business around the world.

Umunna will reiterate Labour's call for a more ethical capitalism and argue the state ought to be more involved in helping growth.

Politicians of all affiliations have been calling for a more responsible capitalism in recent weeks, amid controversy about bonuses rewarded to bankers.