Far be it from anyone to criticise a party that wants to build more homes, but Ed Miliband’s plan to announce in his speech that Labour would build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020 isn’t a particularly interesting one. It’s not that it’s not a good idea to fix our broken housing market, but that politically it’s a reasonably predictable move. Which probably means it’s a good thing, and it certainly fits in with the party’s cost of living drive. But there is another policy being unveiled today that’s more interesting because it tells us something important about the way Labour relates to groups and organisations around it.
Labour is trying to work out what its relationship with business should be. The party recognises that it swung too far in one direction under Blair, but is now in danger of appearing entirely anti-business. So Miliband’s decision to cancel a corporation tax cut for big companies and reduce business rates for small firms shows that he has an eye to preventing the anti-business problem from sticking. But it’s interesting that he’s giving to one part of the business world by taking away from another. The CBI’s John Cridland didn’t like it either telling the Today programme earlier that ‘I just think it’s divisive to take from one part of the business community to give to another’. The message is surely that the Labour leader prefers small, friendly little businesses to big ‘predators’.Tags: Business, Ed Miliband, Labour, Labour conference 2013, UK politics