Starmer to tell Davos that Labour’s Britain will be ‘open for business’ | Davos

Keir Starmer hopes to entice global finance leaders in Davos on Thursday assuring them that Britain “will be open for business” under a future Labor government.

With Rishi Sunak refusing to attend this year’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the Labor leader is likely to be the most prominent British politician to attend.

He will be joined by Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, in a bid to encourage business leaders and international figures to imagine a Britain under his leadership.

The duo will hope to convince finance chiefs to attract more foreign investment, particularly in the “green” industries of the future.

During the day of talks, he will promote Labour’s Green Prosperity plan to decarbonise the economy, boost energy security and ensure Britain is a leader in future green industries. Starmer’s focus on the plan could embolden some Labor members who want to pressure his office to ensure green policies are at the heart of his manifesto.

Ahead of the visit, Reeves said: “With Labor in government, Britain will be open for business. We have the ambition and practical ideas to make our country a leader on the global stage again, especially in those green industries of the future that are vital for our energy security.

“We will bring economic growth back to the UK, improving living standards and creating jobs, and bring back global investors to drive our economy forward – all built on a bedrock of economic stability and security.

“Labour will work in partnership with business to drive investment in the UK economy, ensure the jobs of the future are in the UK and ensure the UK is a world leader in the climate transition.”

Neither Sunak nor Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, will attend the exclusive gathering, with the prime minister instead giving a short speech on raising the bar.

The trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, and the business secretary, Grant Shapps, will represent the government in their stead, rubbing shoulders with their old boss, Boris Johnson.

Starmer and Reeves will be the first Labor leaders to attend the summit since John McDonnell made a surprise visit as shadow chancellor in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet in 2018.

McDonnell told the Guardian before his debut appearance that he traveled to the summit to lay out some truths, including the fact that ordinary voters despised those in attendance.

The visit will highlight how much Labor has changed under Starmer’s leadership, further distancing the party from claims it is “anti-business”.

Johnson, like his former opposite Starmer, is on a mission to change his own image after ordering his ministers to avoid visiting Davos. He described it as an elitist event after winning a huge majority in 2019 to confirm his party’s position among working-class voters.

The former prime minister has been on a networking mission of his own since leaving No 10, having attended Cop27 and spent time on the after-dinner speaking circuit.

Labour’s fresh business surge comes after reports revealed donations to the party jumped by almost a quarter to £4.7m, boosted by spending from unions and individual donors.

A party spokesman said donors were “returning to Labor because they see that we are a changed party that is serious about getting into government and building a fairer, greener, more dynamic Britain”.

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