(Bloomberg) -- Keir Starmer’s Labour Party said it’s reviewing the UK’s financial services industry to help city firms thrive if the main opposition wins a general election expected next year, part of long-running effort to court big business.
Labour’s review, to be published in early 2024, will focus on five key areas: capital markets, competitiveness, consumer protection, innovation and sustainability, the party said Friday in an e-mailed statement after Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves met in Scotland with banking executives. The findings will be fed into the party’s election manifesto, as it seeks to deliver stability for business.
The initiative is the latest effort by Labour to burnish its reputation as a pro-markets, pro-finance party following the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn that alienated a swath of British business. With Labour enjoying a double-digit lead in national polls, Starmer is trying to occupy the political center-ground to convince swing voters to switch from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s governing Conservatives.
“Financial services are a key plank of this country’s attractiveness for global investment: it’s the lifeblood of our economy,” Starmer said. “But the industry is being held back by a government unwilling to give it proper backing.”
The Labour leader said that he and Reeves would “deliver that certainty so financial services can thrive.”
Labour said it had appointed an advisory panel to help support the review, with members including Barclays Plc Chairman Nigel Higgins, Abrdn Plc Chairman Douglas Flint, and Prudential Plc Chairwoman Shriti Vadera.
The announcement of Labour’s review follows the anniversary this week of the Conservative government’s own Edinburgh reforms, a list of innovations announced last December to boost competitiveness and modernization of the UK’s financial markets after leaving the European Union.
Read More: UK Vision of Big Bang for City Dropped From Post-Brexit Plan (1)
The reforms were criticized this week by Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee, which described them as a “damp squib” that have had little impact on the economy. Economic Secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami, who marked the anniversary with visits to finance firms in Scotland, disputed the committee’s assessment in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday.
“We’re only a year in,” he said. “This is the City of London and broadly financial professional services - the most complicated, dense ecosystem in the entire world. So it is very, very difficult to say that a very important set of regulatory reforms is going to immediately have this huge economic impact.”
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
BNN Bloomberg Picks
Group RRSP use rising as retirement savings burden 'largely on employees': experts
Canada tax changes to be aware of in 2024
45 cents short, $96 in fees: Court approves TD insufficient fund fees settlement
Makers of COVID-19 protective equipment seek over $5 billion in damages from Ottawa
Immigration surge fuels male population boom in Canada
Bank of Canada to halt its QT program within months, RBC says