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Social enterprise at the heart of Labour’s economic policy making

As always I try to avoid politics in my blogs, however, given the statement of intent from the Labour party, I thought I would take a risk this time! The last time this happened the then Conservative/LibDem coalition jumped on board, and the result was the Social value Act. Hopefully the same happens again with this piece of policy. This speech was made in January but the content was re-empasised by senior members just this month.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, told a summit on the future of business that Labour would be putting social enterprise at the heart of its economic policy making.

Long-Bailey was speaking in front of a gathering of social enterprises, councillors and non-governmental organisations at the Social Enterprise UK and Labour Business “Future of Business” Summit. She told delegates that “we are putting social enterprise at the heart of our economic policy making.” She also said that “social enterprise is integral to our Industrial Strategy”.

In a wide-ranging speech, alongside Shadow Treasury Minister Anneliese Dodds and Shadow Small Business Minister Bill Esterson, Long-Bailey talked about the need for a new economy based on treating workers better and being more environmentally sustainable. She said that a Labour Government would tackle the UK’s record as being the most regionally unequal society on record.

Long-Bailey also said that a Labour Government would do more to promote “positive procurement”, rewarding businesses which treated their staff fairly and paid their taxes. She also said that more needed to be done to “democratise” the UK’s energy sector, with social enterprise providing a model for how this could be achieved.

Shadow Treasury Minister Anneliese Dodds said that Labour would look at the tax system to ensure that there was a level playing field. She referenced that whilst corporation tax had been repeatedly lowered, business rates had increased for businesses which have a physical location in communities.

Small Business Minister Bill Esterson said that more needed to be done to promote long termism in the business sector and that Labour would explore how its proposed National Investment Bank could support social enterprises and co-operatives to grow.

Speaking after the event, Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said:

“I am pleased that the Labour Party is grasping the transformative potential of social enterprise as the future of business.”

“If we want to see a better society, we need to see better businesses. Social enterprises are developing business models which combine superior economic performance with social fairness.”

“The next challenge is to turn this radical vision of a new economy into concrete proposals for reform of company law, procurement and the tax system.”

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