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Labour’s ambitions not achievable without business, Reeves to tell Davos summit

Labour’s ambitions for government cannot be achieved without backing from business, the shadow chancellor is to say in Davos.

Rachel Reeves will say that, if Labour wins the next general election — expected to be held this year — “Britain will be open to business”.

The shadow chancellor and shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds are joining the annual gathering of international movers and shakers at the World Economic Forum in the exclusive Swiss ski resort.

The duo have lined up a series of meetings, including with Google, Barclays and Ericsson, as well as with other chief executives, investors and financiers during their three-day visit.

With an election later this year, the visit will be seen as a further sign of Labour’s determination to underline its pro-business credentials under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership.

Speaking on a panel organised by the World Economic Forum on modern supply-side economics on Wednesday, Ms Reeves is expected to say: “None of the ambitions of the next Labour government can be achieved without business.”

Taking aim at the “chaotic” Brexit process and the “turmoil” during Liz Truss’s brief time in Downing Street, Ms Reeves will vow to “restore stability and security into our economy”.

Ms Reeves will accuse the Conservatives of having presided over “14 years of stagnant economic growth and political uncertainty” that she will argue has left Britain “weaker” and “uniquely exposed” to global shocks, including the hikes in energy prices and inflation fuelled by wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

“This instability has turned businesses away, damaged our reputation and made us a less attractive place to do business,” the Opposition frontbencher will say.

She is due to state that a “changing world demands a change in our approach” before putting forward the argument for so-called “securonomics” during a Starmer premiership.

“We must rebuild our nation’s economic defences so we can stand tall on the world stage once again,” she will say, according to pre-briefed comments.

“That is the only way we can bring about security for family finances and security for our national economy.

Switzerland Davos Forum
The World Economic Forum is being held in Davos once again (Markus Schreiber/AP)

“That is the change a changed Labour Party will hope to deliver if we are elected to power later this year.”

Expanding on Labour’s plan for growth in government, Ms Reeves is set to say: “I am ambitious for Britain’s economy.

“We are one of the world’s leading creative and industrial hubs – and I believe we are the nation that is best equipped to seize on the opportunities of the future in AI (artificial intelligence), clean power and life sciences.

“However, none of the ambitions of the next Labour government can be achieved without business.

“The lifeblood of economic growth is private sector investment. That is why we have put business investment at the heart of our plan for growth.

“With Labour, Britain will be open to business. We will restore stability and security into our economy.

“We will restore Britain’s reputation as a place to do business. And we will be a trusted partner with business in delivering the change our country and our economy needs.”

The senior Labour MP will also speak at a closed event on Wednesday arranged by investment bank JP Morgan.

The Government is being represented in Davos by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron and trade minister Lord Johnson.

The rise of AI is set to be in sharp focus at this year’s gathering, as well as worries over global conflicts.

Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden, responding to Ms Reeves’s pre-briefed Davos contribution, said: “Once again Labour are talking down Britain, sniping from the sidelines, unable to say what they would do differently because they don’t have a plan.

“Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party cannot say how they would fund their £28 billion a year spending spree because they don’t have a plan to pay for it – and that can only mean higher taxes.

“Only by sticking to our plan under Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives can we deliver a brighter future for you and your family.

“Labour would take us back to square one, which means nothing will get better.”