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Founders back Labour as the party for business, survey finds

Labour business
Image credit: Rupert Rivett / Shutterstock

Entrepreneurs have picked Labour as the party for business as election season looms, according to a recent survey.

Conducted by The Entrepreneurs Network, the survey of 500 firms in the UK found that 43% of founders agreed that Labour understands what businesses need to succeed, compared with 26% who said they did not, leaving the opposition party with a net approval score of 17%.

The Conservatives trailed with 35% of founders saying the Tories understood what their businesses need and 37% saying they did not, leaving the incumbents with a net approval score of -2%.

The findings suggest the government, which has presided over a period of high inflation and soaring business costs, has its work cut out for it to win over UK entrepreneurs ahead of the next general election, which will be held no later than 28 January 2025.

It comes after the government faced backlash from the tech sector for delaying net zero policies, while Rishi Sunak’s decision to scrap the HS2 link connecting Birmingham to Manchester drew condemnation from business leaders.

Labour was keen to position itself as the party for business at the recent party conference in Liverpool. Kier Starmer’s party pledged to raise business investment as a share of economic output and create a national wealth fund to leverage private investment.

Labour’s shadow tech ministers also made clear the party’s intention to support the growing AI sector, taking shots at the “tech bro” prime minister’s current approach.

The report from The Entrepreneurs Network, a think tank, noted that politicians across all parties performed better among leaders of larger businesses, suggesting that winning over the startup and SME space could be key for electoral victory.

Startups in particular expressed a negative view of the Conservative Party, with 45% saying they did not believe the Tories understood their business needs.

The Liberal Democrats were given a net score of 5%, while SNP was left with -3% and the Green Party with -2%.