Labour would allow wokery to destroy capitalism

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Business and retail consultant Mary Portas visiting small businesses in the South East of England
No solutions: If Rachel Reeves (left) follows Mary Portas's (right) advice the UK's economy will turn worse - Steve Reigate

The market economy has been the greatest engine of human prosperity. It works because it allows us to flourish as individuals, free to pursue enterprises as we see fit. This is the guiding principle of prosperity and it should never be forgotten.

While many of the great deregulations and tax cuts from the 1980s remain in place, economic growth is threatened by the two forces of woke capitalism: diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) rules on the one hand, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) rules on the other.

As research for Legatum Institute’s new report Woke Capitalism in Britain shows, these are strangling the economy and reducing the innovation and economic dynamism that the British people need.

The damage that woke capitalism does is immense: it means employers can’t hire people on merit, they must tick boxes and meet quotas instead. It means that businesses must spend time and money accounting for carbon emissions, and that the oil and gas industry in the North Sea is unable to finance its operations, which keep our lights on, the country’s factories running and everyone’s home warm.

Even worse, woke capitalism means if you say the wrong thing, or have the wrong views, you could find your business unable to open a bank account, or even have your own personal bank account closed down. While the Conservative government acted to stop this, after the PayPal account of the Free Speech Union was shut down and Nigel Farage had his bank account closed by Coutts and NatWest, the ideas being floated by the Labour Party would make this entire situation worse.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s Shadow Energy Secretary, wants to force company directors to report on their carbon footprints and redirect private capital to supposedly green initiatives. What does this look like in practice? It means businesses of all shapes and sizes being refused loans or access to capital unless they follow Labour’s green rules and regulations. This would take de-banking to an entirely new level.

It doesn’t stop there. Today’s Labour Party is little changed from the party which destroyed British pensions when Gordon Brown was chancellor. Instead of conducting tax raids on pension funds, Brown’s successor, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, will destroy the public’s investments and savings through regulation and woke capitalism.

By gold-plating ESG rules and forcing pension funds and asset managers to make investments in poorly-performing ESG projects, a prospective Labour government will damage British prosperity and the livelihoods and retirements of the British people.

Just as the global economy turns its back on the flawed ideas behind ESG, and takes a more rational approach to Net Zero, the Labour Party wants to entrench them in law.

Labour will put a “Race Equality Act” into law, forcing new and divisive rules on all British businesses. This policy will take woke capitalism and ESG ideas to an extreme new step. So far, Labour have said they will force diversity-related reporting requirements on all firms, and will upend procurement rules so businesses owned by people from particular ethnic groups unfairly benefit.

This means no more hiring on merit; form-filling to prove that a company’s workforce is sufficiently “diverse”, and taxpayers’ money being spent on contracts for companies which achieve political goals rather than deliver public services and good value for money.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has criticised the Companies Act for putting the people who own businesses first. They want to dictate how businesses run their affairs, and put the government first, not business owners.

The Better Business Act campaigner, Mary Portas, introduced Rachel Reeves at Labour Party conference in 2023. This group wants to force companies, of all sizes, to follow net zero rules and social engineering ideas. If you own a business, a Labour government will tell you how to run it.

Labour wants to hand more powers to regulators, killing democracy and prosperity. An even more powerful Bank of England, which couldn’t control inflation for nearly three years. An OBR which stops an elected government from cutting taxes, and forces Britain to continue her reliance on low-skill, low-productivity immigration. This is woke capitalism in action. It has to be stopped.