Not being “anti-business” by highlighting faults in system
British Prime Minister Theresa May has defended free market capitalism in a speech today marking 20 years since the Bank of England (BoE) was given the right to set interest rates.
Just a day earlier, leader Jeremy Corbyn had attacked May in his left-wing speech saying capitalism was facing a “crisis of legitimacy” and that his party was on the “threshold of power”.
In an effort to highlight the differences between her Conservative Party and the opposition, May said today that the British people should never forget the value of a free market economy as it is the “the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created”.
May also talked about how the government would intervene if the market allowed some areas to stagnate or left workers feeling exploited: “It would lead to a wider loss of faith in free markets and risk a return to the failed ideologies of the past.”
Corbyn has consistently criticised the Conservative party’s austerity programme. Addressing this today, May said that her party would continue to be tough on public spending despite political pressure: “To abandon that balanced approach with unfunded borrowing and significantly higher levels of taxation would damage our economy, threaten jobs, and hurt working people,” she added.
Governor of the BoE, Mark Carney, also spoke at the conference today and used his introductory speech to remind leaders about the organisation’s limited influence on the economy, in particular the impact of Brexit. The governor said the banks alone “cannot solve broader societal challenges” across the UK and suggested there has been an exaggeration of its powers.
The Pound has reportedly been volatile after governor Carney and May took to the stage at the conference today.