In a sense Labour has been hoist by its own petard: in 1997 it secured a letter signed by numerous eminent businessmen praising its policies – and thus underlining its electability.
Now, a similar letter from 23 leading company executives threatens to do the exact reverse by criticising Labour policy just weeks before the general election. Executives from industry and the City like to back winners. (And while some of these are Tory donors, most are not).
This time the executives are backing the Conservative plan to partially reverse next year’s National Insurance increase, at the cost of about £5bn (found through efficiency savings across Whitehall).
At first glance the letter does appear to be a bombshell – and has certainly been written up in this way across the media. As George Osborne said: “This is proving to be a significant day. Gordon Brown now finds himself at war with business.”
But don’t be fooled, however, by any suggestion that the letter, now backed by the CBI, Institute of Directors, and British Chamber of Commerce, is not born of self-interest. Read more