cash money

Jeremy Corbyn’s path to victory in the Labour Party leadership contest appears to have reanimated certain sections of the electorate, but not all on the left of the political spectrum are happy – a swathe of high-profile Labour members have already told Corbyn they will not serve under him on the front bench.

But the biggest criticism has come from the prime minister, David Cameron, who said at the weekend of Corbyn’s victory: “The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.”

But just what will his victory mean for retailers? This morning, Corbyn announced the appointment of left-wing ally John McDonnell as the new shadow chancellor, meaning the party is set for a major change in its economic policy.

During his leadership campaign Corbyn said he wanted to raise taxes across all companies and increase governmental spending. He has also called for a £10 minimum wage while also saying there is a need for a ‘maximum wage’ for high business earners, although details of the plans – and just how they would work – remain vague.

Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors, has already sent out a stark warning. “From renationalising the railways, to raising taxes on businesses and increasing government spending, Corbyn has proposed some policies in the leadership campaign that we believe would undermine our open and competitive economy,” he said this morning.

Corbyn has historically been staunchly anti-European Union, but in recent weeks this position appears to have cooled. His new deputy Tom Watson said over the weekend he would personally be saying ‘Yes to Europe’ in the planned 2017 referendum.

Corbyn has, however, still refused to rule out campaigning for Britain to leave the Union, and his stance on this position – and whether he will ask Labour to back or oppose a ‘Yes’ vote – will be a major test for the new leader.

The British Retail Consortium told The Grocer that it is sitting down this week to discuss just what the Corbyn opposition will mean for retail businesses. The BRC is for a single market European Union, but has said it would be in favour of reform of the EU going forward.

The next general election is not until 2020. But the policies and people that will come to the fore from the new-look opposition will still represent a challenge to Conservative business policies.