It would be remiss to suggest that this year’s local election results were anything but damaging for the short-term electoral hopes of the Conservative Party as they suffered heavy defeats across the country, losing over 1,000 councillors.
Since the results came in, the Prime Minister has been put under pressure by both the opposition and his own party. Following the results, Keir Starmer enjoyed what has been described as a ‘victory parade’ at Prime Minister’s Questions when he suggested the Prime Minister had come “third in a two-horse race.”
What does this mean for Labour?
The Labour Party currently enjoys significant leads in the polls, with satisfaction in the Government running the country remaining low. Keir Starmer and his Shadow Cabinet remain in a strong position to capitalise on their recent electoral success at the next General Election, slated to take place no later than January 2025.
Despite many seeing Starmer’s party as the de facto ‘Government in waiting’, the Conservative Party is an electoral force with history of success at the ballot box. Nonetheless, all the signs point towards the Labour Party having more than a fighting chance come the next General Election.
What might we see from a Labour Government?
Recently, the Leader of the Labour Party revealed his “Five Missions for a Better Britain” focused on what the Labour Party are calling an “end to short term sticking plaster politics” and a transition towards a “mission-driven Government.”
Although lacking policy detail, the frontrunner to be the next Prime Minister has focused on five key pillars his party believe will get the country back on its feet following the coronavirus pandemic and cost of living crisis.
Productivity gains and new jobs will aim to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7, while expediting the move to net zero will make Britain a clean energy superpower.
With NHS waiting lists hitting a record 7.3 million people in England, Labour will aim to build an NHS fit for the future, through the use of life sciences and technology. In a nod to New Labour under Blair, Starmer has pledged to Make Britain’s Streets Safe alongside breaking down the barriers to opportunity through reforming childcare and education systems.
Which businesses should be keeping an eye out?
Fundamentally, businesses across the economy from small to large, from private to public and trade organisations alike should be taking proactive steps to understand the implications that a change in government could deliver for their organisation. Should the Labour Party come to power at the next General Election, however, certain sectors will have a particular vested interest in any policy positions adopted by Sir Keir Starmer and his cabinet.
Businesses operating within the sustainability space will be buoyed by the opposition’s pledge to make Britain a clean energy superpower. With a current pledge to achieve Net Zero by 2050, organisations in the alternative energy space will be keeping a close eye on any policy aimed at accelerating the transition towards a sustainable future. Similarly, with the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to end in 2030, those within the electrical vehicle space will be interested in any regulatory, legislative or policy changes which may encourage the transition to electric vehicles.
On the other side of the Atlantic, President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act has seen an attempt at managing rising prices, through lowering energy costs and prescription drug pricing reform. Recently, a poll from the Institute of Directors found that around 80% of UK business leaders would support a similar strategy in the UK. At the time, Rishi Sunak voiced quite public concerns about green subsidies involved in the multibillion-dollar package. However, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet embraced the idea, with former leader Ed Miliband pledging a green prosperity plan being cast as the British version of Biden’s policy and it was reported that Labour Party officials were closely working with the President’s team on policy development in the space.
With the NHS facing increasing pressure relating to targets and staff retention, Labour’s promise to make the health service “fit for the future” may rely on support from the private sector. The requirement for a strategy focused on preventative measures, those in the health and wellbeing space are likely to become even more vital in the work to safeguard the future of the NHS.
More broadly, the upcoming General Election, whenever that may be comes at a crucial time for the UK economy and society. Businesses and organisations will be closely monitoring any change in policy that may come from a new Labour Government and how closely these relate to the biggest issues facing the public such as the cost of living and NHS crises.
Click here to find out more about how your business can begin engaging with the potential Government in waiting.