From the top · 26 September 2016

John McDonnell pledges to turn UK into an entrepreneurial state

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The shadow chancellor announced Labour’s intention to create a national investment bank which would borrow up to £100bn.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell will tell the Labour Party conference that a Labour-led government will create an “entrepreneurial state” in Britain.

In the shadow chancellor’s keynote speech, McDonnell will state Labour’s commitment to creating a “a renaissance in British manufacturing” following Britain’s exit from the EU, should the party win the next general election.

McDonnell’s keynote speech will seek to shift the party’s reputation amongst business owners, and will outline a co-operative relationship between the Labour Party and UK enterprise.

“Our government will create an entrepreneurial state that works with the wealth creators, the workers and the entrepreneurs to create the products and the markets that will secure our long-term prosperity,” he will say.

In an interview with Sky News, McDonnell has already announced the party’s intention to bring in investment for infrastructure and skills through a national investment bank. The bank would borrow up to £100bn which would “lever in” private funding worth £150bn to invest in British manufacturing.

The speech will make also reference to the possibilities of digital technology in bringing manufacturing bases back to the UK, rather than taking them to the countries that offer the cheapest labour.

“Digital technology means production can be smaller-scale, in smaller, faster firms dependent on co-operation and collaboration,” McDonnell will say.

The idea of Britain as an “entrepreneurial state” is a recurring theme in the shadow chancellor’s rhetoric. In a speech in April, McDonnell made reference to the term after announcing Labour’s support for the creation of strategic entrepreneurial hubs (SEHs) – working spaces designed for local professionals and small businesses.

In the speech, McDonnell highlighted Labour’s traditional place as “the party of makers and doers”.

“We have a rich history of supporting those people who want to be designers, makers and innovators. And it’s by helping to create the next generation of entrepreneurs that we will build the economy of the future,” he said.

Jeremy Corbyn – who won the Labour Party’s leadership election last week – has already set out the party’s pledge to “unlock” the entrepreneurial potential of Scotland, announcing plans for a Scottish investment bank. The bank would address the imbalance in regional subsidies through £20bn of lending power to small businesses and local projects in the country.

Find out how Labour plans to create 20,000 entrepreneurs every year.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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