01 Jul 2024

Election 2024: What does the Labour Party’s manifesto mean for businesses?


The final report of the Business Commission West Midlands (BCWM) was launched on 19 March, and features 32 recommendations for national government, alongside further recommendations for local and regional stakeholders.

With a general election to take place on 4 July, this blog summarises the Labour Party’s manifesto for 2024. It will outline the key themes of the manifesto and what some of the main points mean for businesses.

About the Business Commission West Midlands 

The BCWM provides a roadmap for unlocking business growth across the region. The Commission has been delivered by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s Insight & Intelligence Unit, in partnership with the Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire Chambers of Commerce. 

Between October and November 2023, over 130 organisations participated in the evidence hearing stage of the Commission and a further 400 local businesses were surveyed as part of the evidence base for the Roadmap for Growth. Following the publication of this Roadmap, the Chambers are now working with stakeholders and partners to make the Commission’s recommendations a reality as well as directly supporting businesses in embracing the opportunities and overcoming the challenges identified. 

For more information about the BCWM, please click here.  

The Labour Party’s Manifesto Pledges

Fiscal Policy

Delivering economic stability through ‘tough’ spending rules, to allow for economic growth and keeping taxes, inflation and mortgages as low as possible is the first of the Labour manifesto’s six ‘first steps for change’ priority commitments. The manifesto sets out the party’s fiscal rules, that:

  • The current budget moves into balance, so that day-to-day costs are met by revenues
  • Debt must be falling as a share of the economy by the fifth year of the forecast.

The manifesto also sets out the party’s intentions to strengthen the role of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), by ensuring that every fiscal event making significant changes to taxation or spending will be subject to an independent OBR forecast.

Sustained economic growth is at the core of Labour’s manifesto as ‘the only route to improving the prosperity of our country and the living standards of working people.’ The first of Labour’s ‘five missions to rebuild Britain’ states an ambition to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7 with ‘good jobs’ and productivity growth across the country.

The manifesto sets out plans to embrace what it terms ‘securonomics,’ working in partnership with business, trade unions, local leaders, and devolved governments. The Party commits to supporting businesses, should they win the election, by providing a stable policy environment, strengthening the country’s economic institutions, and giving investors the certainty they need to fuel growth. Labour state that they will seek involvement from industry, trade unions, and civil society in their plans for growth and strategically use public investment where it can unlock additional private sector investment, create jobs, and provide a return for taxpayers.

Industrial Strategy

Further, the Party commit that should they be elected, Labour would introduce a new industrial strategy and work in partnership with industry to seize opportunities and remove barriers to growth. The manifesto outlines plans to establish an Industrial Strategy Council, on a statutory footing, to represent all nations and regions, businesses and trade unions to provide expert advice and drive economic growth in all parts of the country. Labour intend to take a sectoral approach to the competitive strengths of the country and in this vein, bolster British research institutions, professional services, advanced manufacturing, and creative industries in particular, stating plans to ensure a pro-business environment, with a competition and regulatory framework, that supports innovation, investment, and high-quality jobs. It is intended that procurement and trade policy will also be aligned with industrial strategy priorities.

Further, the manifesto highlights plans to create the conditions to support innovation and growth in financial services through supporting new technology, including Open Banking and Open Finance and ensuring a pro-innovation regulatory framework. The Labour Party state that should they win the election, they would also set out plans for vital sectors of the economy such as automotive, life sciences and creative sectors.

Boosting Investment

The manifesto sets out plans to establish a National Wealth fund to support and de-risk additional private investment, capitalised with £7.3 billion over the course of the next Parliament. This National Wealth Fund would have a remit to support Labour’s growth and clean energy missions, making investments across every part of the country. The fund would have a target of attracting three pounds of private investment for every one pound of public investment, creating jobs across the country, with plans to allocate:

  • £1.8 billion to upgrade ports and build supply chains across the UK
  • £1.5 billion to new gigafactories so our automotive industry leads the world
  • £2.5 billion to rebuild our steel industry
  • £1 billion to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture
  • £500 million to support the manufacturing of green hydrogen

Further, a Labour government would look to increase investment from pension funds in UK markets and adopt reforms to ensure that workplace pension schemes take advantage of consolidation and scale to deliver better returns for UK savers and greater productive investment for UK PLC – with a review of the pensions landscape undertaken to consider further steps in this area.


Labour’s manifesto commits to further devolution of powers from Westminster, deepening devolution settlements for existing Combined Authorities in England and widening devolution to more areas, encouraging local authorities to come together and take on new powers.

At the centre of this approach the Party anticipate establishing a new statutory requirement for Local Growth Plans that cover towns and cities across the country. Local leaders would be expected to work with major employers, universities, colleges, and industry bodies to produce long-term plans that identify growth sectors and put in place the programmes and infrastructure they need to thrive. The expectation is that these would then align with Labour’s national industrial strategy.

A Labour government would also seek to give councils multiyear funding settlements and end competitive bidding, as well as to provide capacity and support to councils, and overhaul the local audit system.

Business Taxation

The Labour Party manifesto commits to only one major fiscal event a year to allow for greater certainty and longer-term planning for families and businesses, and should they win the election, the Party would plan to publish a roadmap for business taxation for the next parliament, intended to allow businesses to plan investments with confidence.

The manifesto states that Labour would cap corporation tax at the current level of 25 per cent, the lowest in the G7, for the entire parliament, and act if tax changes in other countries pose a risk to UK competitiveness.

The Party would retain a permanent full expensing system for capital investment and the annual investment allowance for small business, and give firms greater clarity on what qualifies for allowances to improve business investment decisions.

In England, a Labour Government would replace the business rates system with the intention of ‘raising the same revenue but in a fairer way.’ This new system would intend to level the playing field between high street firms and large online retailers, better incentivise investment, tackle empty properties and support entrepreneurship.


Infrastructure Strategy

The Labour Party manifesto states intentions to develop a ten-year infrastructure strategy, aligned with a Labour industrial strategy and regional development priorities, including improving rail connectivity across the north of England. This strategy would be intended to guide investment plans and give the private sector certainty about project pipelines. To deliver on this, the manifesto states that the Party would work closely with business to map and address the delivery challenges faced. A new National Infrastructure and Service Transformation Authority, bringing together existing bodies, would be established to set strategic infrastructure priorities and oversee the design, scope, and delivery of projects.

Labour would give mayors more powers in regards to transport infrastructure, including powers to to create unified and integrated transport systems, allowing for more seamless journeys, and to promote active travel networks. Should the Party be elected, Labour would also develop a long-term strategy for transport, ensuring transport infrastructure can be delivered efficiently and on time.

Planning Policy

The manifesto commits to updating national planning policy to ensure the planning system meets the needs of a modern economy, making it easier to build laboratories, digital infrastructure, and gigafactories.

Road Networks

In regards to the road network, the manifesto also states plans to maintain and renew existing roads, fixing an additional one million potholes across England in each year of the new parliament. Meanwhile, the Labour Party would seek to support the transition to electric vehicles by:

  • Accelerating the roll out of charge points;
  • Giving certainty to manufacturers by restoring the phase-out date of 2030 for new cars with internal combustion engines; and
  • Supporting buyers of second-hand electric cars by standardising the information supplied on the condition of batteries.


The manifesto sets out intentions to reform railways by bringing them into public ownership as contracts with existing operators expire or are broken through a failure to deliver to avoid spending taxpayer money on compensation. This nationalised Great British Railways would intend to deliver a unified system that focuses on reliable, affordable, high-quality, and efficient services; along with ensuring safety and accessibility. It would be responsible for investment, day-to-day operational delivery and innovations and improvements for passengers, working with publicly-owned rail operators in Wales and Scotland. Mayors would have a role in designing the services in their respective areas and there would be an ambition to promote and grow the use of rail freight, with open access operators having an ongoing role as part of the rail system.

Additionally, Labour would also create a new passenger watchdog, focused on driving up standards.

Bus Networks

The manifesto states plans to build on the work of Mayors to reform bus networks through new powers for local leaders to franchise local bus services, and to lift the ban on municipal ownership, giving local communities in England control over bus routes and schedules.


The manifesto sets out ambitions to secure the UK aviation industry's long-term future, including through promoting sustainable aviation fuels, and encouraging airspace modernisation.

Digital Connectivity

In regard to digital connectivity, Labour outline plans to fulfil an ambition of full gigabit and national 5G coverage by 2030.


Enabling Digital Innovation

The Labour Party manifesto sets out plans to drive innovation by ensuring that a new industrial strategy supports the development of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector and removes planning barriers to new datacentres. The Party would also seek to create a new National Data Library to bring together existing research programmes and help deliver data-driven public services, whilst maintaining strong safeguards and ensuring all of the public benefit.

Key R&D Institutions

Labour would also seek to discard short funding cycles for key R&D institutions in favour of ten-year budgets that allow meaningful partnerships with industry, work with universities to support spinouts, and work with industry to ensure start-ups have the access to finance they need to grow.

Regulation of Innovation

The manifesto also sets out plans to create a new Regulatory Innovation Office, bringing together existing functions across government. This office would help regulators update regulation, speed up approval timelines, and co-ordinate issues that span existing boundaries.

Labour would seek to ensure the safe development and use of AI models by introducing binding regulation on the companies developing the most powerful AI models and by banning the creation of sexually explicit deepfakes.

Co-operative Sector Innovation

Labour would also seek to support diverse business models which bring innovation and new products to the market, including the co-operative sector, and the manifesto states ambitions to double the size of the UK’s co-operative and mutuals sector, working with the sector to address barriers such as access to finance.

Support for Small Businesses and the Self-Employed

The Labour Party manifesto refers to a plan developed for small businesses, which would include:

  • Taking action on late payments;
  • Improving guidance on and removing barriers to exporting for small businesses;
  • Reforming the British Business Bank to include a stronger mandate to support growth in the regions and nations, with the intention of making it easier for SMEs to access capital; and
  • Reforming procurement rules to give SMEs greater access to government contracts

The manifesto also states that Labour would look for ways to strengthen the Post Office network and support the development of new products, services and business models, such as banking hubs, in an effort to help reinvigorate high streets.


‘Clean Energy Superpower’

Labour also commits to make Britain ‘a clean energy superpower’ to reduce energy bills for homes and businesses, create new employment opportunities, improve energy security and accelerate the transition to net zero. The manifesto states that this will be achieved through a genuine partnership between the public and private sectors to double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030.

At the heart of the proposed approach would be a Green Prosperity Plan where, in partnership with business through the National Wealth Fund referenced above, Labour would look to invest in the industries of the future, anticipating creation of 650,000 jobs by 2030.

Additionally, the party commit to invest in carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and marine energy, and to ensuring the country has adequate long-term energy storage. Further, the manifesto states that Labour intend to ensure the long-term security of the nuclear sector, extending the lifetime of existing plants and establishing new nuclear power stations.

To support investment in this plan, Labour would seek to:

  • Close the loopholes in the windfall tax on oil and gas companies and extend the sunset clause in the Energy Profits Levy until the end of the next parliament.
  • Increase the rate of the levy by three percentage points, as well as removing investment allowances.
  • Retain the Energy Security Investment Mechanism.

Labour would also seek to make the UK the green finance capital of the world, mandating UK-regulated financial institutions – including banks, asset managers, pension funds, and insurers – and FTSE 100 companies to develop and implement credible transition plans that align with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

Labour’s manifesto also states support for the introduction of a carbon border adjustment mechanism to support the competitiveness of British industries during decarbonisation.

Further, the manifesto additionally pledges that Labour’s National Wealth Fund will directly invest in ports, hydrogen and industrial clusters across the country and reward clean energy developers with a ‘British Jobs Bonus’, allocating up to £500 million per year from 2026, to incentivise firms who offer good jobs, terms and conditions and build their manufacturing supply chains in Britain’s industrial heartlands, coastal areas, and energy communities.

Great British Energy

To drive forward investment in clean energy production, Labour’s manifesto sets out plans to create a new publicly owned company, Great British Energy. Great British Energy would partner with industry and trade unions to deliver clean power by co-investing in leading technologies; help support capital-intensive projects; and seek to deploy local energy production to benefit communities across the country. To support this, Labour intends to capitalise Great British Energy with £8.3 billion over the next parliament.

Labour also commits to working with industry to upgrade the country’s national energy transmission infrastructure.

Skills, Employment and Personal Taxation

Access to Work

Labour would seek to reform employment support so it drives growth and opportunity. The manifesto states that a Labour government would bring Jobcentre Plus and the National Careers Service together to provide a national jobs and careers service, focused on getting people into work and helping them get on at work. The Party intend to ensure the service is responsive to local employers, inclusive for all users, and works in partnership with other local services. Labour would also work with local areas to create plans to support more disabled people and those with health conditions into work and devolve funding so local areas can shape a joined-up work, health, and skills offer for local people.

The Party would seek to support more disabled people into work through measures such as addressing the backlog of Access to Work claims and reforming or replacing the Work Capability Assessment.

Labour also state plans to establish a ‘youth guarantee’ of access to training, an apprenticeship, or support to find work for all 18- to 21-year-olds, as well as a guarantee of two weeks’ worth of work experience for every young person.

Additionally, Labour outline an ambition to transform Further Education colleges into specialist ‘Technical Excellence Colleges’ which work with businesses, trade unions, and local government to provide young people with job opportunities and provide the skills required in local economies. Further, Labour intend to reform the Apprenticeship Levy, creating a broader ‘Growth and Skills Levy’, with Skills England consulting on eligible courses.

The manifesto also refers to plans to improve careers advice in schools and colleges.


Another of the ‘five missions’ in the manifesto is a commitment to ‘break down barriers to opportunity’ by reforming the childcare and education systems. This would include expanding access to childcare and supporting families with children by introducing free breakfast clubs in every primary school.

‘New Deal for Working People’

Labour’s manifesto also commits to introducing legislation within 100 days to implement ‘Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay: Delivering a New Deal for Working People’.

The Party state that they would consult fully with businesses, workers, and civil society on how to put these plans into practice before legislation is passed. Plans include banning exploitative zero hours contracts; ending fire and rehire; and introducing basic rights from day one to parental leave, sick pay, and protection from unfair dismissal.

Additionally, Labour’s manifesto commits to change the remit of the Low Pay Commission to account for the Cost of Living and remove age bands so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage.

The Labour Party also state that they would create a Single Enforcement Body to ensure employment rights are upheld.

Equal Opportunities

The Labour Party manifesto states that Labour intend to take action to reduce the gender pay gap, building on the legacy of Barbara Castle’s Equal Pay Act, introduce a landmark Race Equality Act and introduce the full right to equal pay for disabled people.

Building on gender pay gap reporting, Labour also intend to introduce disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers.


Labour pledge in their manifesto to ensure that migration to address skills shortages triggers a plan to upskill workers and improve working conditions in the UK. The Party sets out plans to strengthen the Migration Advisory Committee and establish a framework for joint working with skills bodies across the UK, the Industrial Strategy Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Party would seek to end the long-term reliance on overseas workers in some parts of the economy by bringing in workforce and training plans for sectors such as health and social care and construction.

Personal Taxation

The Labour Party has committed to not increasing taxes on working people, and explicitly state in their manifesto that they will not increase National Insurance, the basic, higher, or additional rates of Income Tax, or VAT if elected.

The manifesto states intentions to abolish non-dom status and end the use of offshore trusts to avoid inheritance tax. Currently, private equity is the only industry where performance-related pay is treated as capital gains and Labour have also stated plans to end this exception.

The manifesto states that Labour would also end the VAT exemption (and business rates relief) for private schools if elected, with the intention of investing funds raised in state schools.

The manifesto additionally commits to modernisation of HMRC and changing the law to tackle tax avoidance, with a ‘renewed focus’ on tax avoidance by large businesses and the wealthy.


The Labour Party has also committed to making housing more affordable and keeping mortgage rates as low as possible by maintaining the independence of the Bank of England and its 2% target for inflation.

Further, the manifesto states that Labour would seek to build 1.5 million new homes over the next parliament, ensure new developments provide more affordable homes, restore mandatory housing targets and bolster planning authorities by funding additional planning officers through increasing the rate of the stamp duty surcharge paid by non-UK residents. Labour also state that they ‘will ensure local communities continue to shape housebuilding in their area, but where necessary … will not be afraid to make full use of intervention powers to build the houses we need’. Under a Labour government, the manifesto sets out that housebuilding would take a brownfield-first approach where possible, but also take a strategic approach to greenbelt and ‘grey belt’ land designation and release to build more homes ‘in the right places.’ Labour would also require all Combined and Mayoral Authorities to strategically plan for housing growth in their areas, giving Combined Authorities new planning powers along with new freedoms and flexibilities to make better use of grant funding.

Labour set out that they would prioritise the building of new social rented homes and protect existing stock by reviewing the increased right to buy discounts introduced in 2012 and increasing protections on newly built social housing. They also pledge to introduce a permanent, comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme, to support first-time buyers who struggle to save for a large deposit, with lower mortgage costs.

Additionally, the Labour manifesto sets out commitments to provide consistency in energy policy and invest in home insulation upgrades. Labour state that they will invest an extra £6.6 billion over the next parliament to upgrade five million homes to cut bills for families. A Warm Homes Plan would offer grants and low interest loans to support investment in insulation and other improvements such as solar panels, batteries and low carbon heating to cut bills. Labour would also look to work with the private sector, including banks and building societies, to provide further private finance to accelerate home upgrades and low carbon heating. The Party additionally intend to ensure homes in the private rented sector meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030.

International Trade

The Labour manifesto commits to using the country’s diplomatic network to attract foreign direct investment into the UK, expand markets for British exporters, and shape emerging regulatory frameworks. Labour intend to seek targeted trade agreements aligned with their industrial strategy and economic strengths.

The Party state plans to publish a trade strategy and, in addition to striking new free trade agreements, to negotiate standalone sector deals, such as digital, or mutual recognition agreements, to promote our services exports.

In particular, the manifesto outlines intentions to seek a new strategic partnership with India, including a free trade agreement, as well as deepening co-operation in areas such as security, education, technology and climate change. Further, the Party intends to deepen co-operation with partners across the Gulf on regional security, energy and trade and investment. Recognising the growing political and economic importance of African countries, Labour state that they would deliver a new approach to the continent to foster opportunities for mutual long-term benefit.

In regards to tackling climate change, Labour state that they would seek to speed up progress  by working together with our international partners, especially those at the forefront of the climate crisis, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, and COP30 hosts Brazil, and create a new Clean Power Alliance, bringing together a coalition of countries at the cutting edge of climate action to help to deliver lower energy bills while accelerating the energy transition and protecting and enhancing clean energy supply chains.

Read what the BCWM research found in relation to the topics referenced in this manifesto.

Next Steps for the BCWM 

The Business Commission West Midlands Hub is published on the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce website and includes reactions to and comments on the Business Commission West Midlands. The Interim Report, which was published in February 2024 and set out the key thematic challenges related to business growth across the region, is also available on the Hub and the Final Report, published in March 2024, lists over 90 recommendations for local, regional and national stakeholders that would help to unlock growth and prosperity across the region. 

The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce will use the coming months to engage with local, regional and national political figures and other relevant stakeholders in order to champion and promote the recommendations made in the report. In addition, we will look to undertake deeper dives across the other levers for growth and cross cutting enablers and hold roundtables with relevant regional and national stakeholders. Conducting this exercise will give us a more nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing businesses in these areas and help track progress against the recommendations we have put forward. In March 2025, we will host a formal review in which we will assess which recommendations have been implemented and where further work is required to unlock growth and drive prosperity across the West Midlands. 

Further Information about the 2024 General Election

Find out more about 2024 General Election.

The five political parties with the most candidates standing in the upcoming General Election are listed below (in alphabetical order) with links to their respective manifestos.

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