UK and Europe Political Economy | 19/01/2023


Carwyn Jones

In our latest insights feature, our new Senior Advisor, Carwyn Jones, talks about how UK businesses can build stronger bridges with the current Labour Party. 
It’s a very exciting moment to be joining Stonehaven as a Senior Adviser.
Over the course of the next 18 months, businesses and communities will be facing the prospect of a General Election and the very real possibility of a new-look, Labour, government in Westminster.
Conversations are ramping up as a result. At the end of last year I was with the team at the Labour Party Business Conference in London. It was the first step of many that the Party will be taking to speak to business in the months ahead.
The focus from Labour was clear. The issues that will define a Labour-led government seem to be set. From regional clean growth, to skills, to clean industry, to encouraging UK manufacturing, to getting SMEs and start-ups moving in the right direction. The Shadow Team have also been making the wider economic case for renewal in challenging times..
But the detail and action still needs definition. And that means that business needs to be on its toes and ready to help shape a new policy offer, one that is rooted in what seems to be a genuine desire for positive change across the electorate. There is a strong focus on winning back those voters that Labour struggled with at the last election. These are trends into which Stonehaven have created cutting edge research and insight.

The areas businesses need to consider 

My sense is there are three core parts to this for businesses to consider – all of which can help to build a bridge with Labour:
The people 
Understanding those within the Party who are beginning to shape Labour’s policy offer, including the links between the Trade Unions, Think Tanks and Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).
The places
The institutions that Labour will come to rely on in any future government, including the way that new powers will be made available to regional assemblies, Holyrood and the Welsh Senedd. I was on the Commission for the ‘A New Britain: Renewing our Democracy and Rebuilding Our Economy’ report this year with the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown – make no mistake, what we are proposing is a radical change for the nations and regions in the years ahead.
The politics
The windows of opportunity to engage with the policy making process, from Manifesto building to policy reviews across Labour’s offer to build a fairer, greener, future for the country. These will be coming thick and fast in the new year.
I learnt first-hand as Leader of the Welsh Labour Party and First Minister of Wales how important it is to build and maintain meaningful partnerships between Government and businesses.
Now I am excited, on the other side of the fence so to speak, to help businesses to engage and – with the wider Stonehaven team – to provide the edge to get ahead change and compete in the modern economy of the future.

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