Commenting on the speech by the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP, Ms Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“The Shadow Chancellor wasn’t in the business of making detailed policy pronouncements. If this is the start of a conversation that will shape the opposition’s agenda on growth then business will want to be part of it, however, as they will be the ones making long term investments in technologies that will underpin future competitiveness and support skilled, well paid jobs.
“There are some areas where the Shadow Chancellor will arguably need to proceed with caution. Most businesses pay their taxes and the debate on doing more to get a fair share from the corporate sector must go hand-in-hand with ensuring that the UK is a competitive magnet for investment and that future tax policies will offer businesses predictability and stability.
“The Shadow Chancellor talked about engaging employees. EEF members already support many forms of employee engagement, and value and encourage their employees’ involvement in their businesses. But, we doubt that any legislative intervention by a future Government would either improve the quality of this engagement or provide any greater value to workers.
“With the National Living Wage set to be introduced from April 2016, and its rate representing an 11% rise over the current national minimum wage, now is the time to ensure that this change supports both the low paid and the businesses which they work for. Now is not the time to pencil in further rises beyond those already signalled by the current Government.”