Businesses which give something back to Britain would be rewarded under a Labour government, Ed Miliband will argue in his keynote speech at the party’s annual conference.
The Labour leader will insist that all political parties are required to be pro-business in the modern era and dismiss the Conservatives’ accusation that his party is an enemy of corporate Britain.
Miliband will tell the Labour Party conference in Liverpool the Tories do not distinguish between companies which put something back into local communities and those which profit through asset-stripping.
Regulation, tax breaks and the spending power of the state would be used to benefit firms which genuinely produce wealth for the nation under a future Labour government, he will tell conference.
Tax incentives would encourage businesses to invest for the long term and provide skills training, while firms which win government contracts would be obliged to offer apprenticeships.
“Let me tell you what the problem is with these Tories,” Miliband will say. “They don’t understand who the real wealth creators of this country are. Or the values our economy needs for them to succeed.”
Innovators, scientists, young apprentices and small businesses all contribute to the nation’s wealth, Miliband will claim, while criticising Tory ministers who give the impression only “CEOs and executives” contribute.
Miliband will speak out in favour of those who make money through “hard graft”.
He will say: “The wealth of our nation is built by the hands not just of the elite few, but every man and woman who goes out and does a day’s work.”
And he will add: “Let me tell you what the 21st century choice is: Are you on the side of the wealth creators or the asset strippers?
“For years as a country we have been neutral in that battle. They’ve been taxed the same. Regulated the same. Treated the same. Celebrated the same. They won’t be by me.”
Conservative Party co-chairman Baroness Warsi, responding to the reported content of Miliband’s speech, said: “It was under Labour that small businesses were strangled with red tape. If they were serious about supporting small businesses they wouldn’t be opposing our plans to cut regulation and make it easier for small businesses to create jobs.”
Warsi added: “Ed Miliband can’t deliver on these promises because his party left the country on the brink of bankruptcy. This is opportunistic rhetoric from a weak leader.”