Businesses clamour for spot at Labour Conference

With the Tories tanking in the opinion polls business leaders are clamouring to attend the Labour conference in Liverpool in anticipation of the party winning the next General Election. Tony McDonough reports

Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer addresses the 2022 Labour conference in Liverpool


Hundreds of chief executives representing some of the UK’s biggest companies are expected to attend the Labour Conference when it returns to Liverpool in October.

In August LBN reported record levels of delegates and exhibitors were expected to attend this year’s conference being held from Sunday, October 8, to Wednesday, October 11 at ACC Liverpool.

In October 2022 at the same venue, 12,500 delegates attended over the four days. This boosted the Liverpool city centre economy by an estimated £20m, spent at businesses such as bars, restaurants and hotels.

According to LabourList, an independent website that supports the party, delegate numbers are this year expected to be as high as 15,000. 

Now The Guardian is reporting that such is the demand for spaces at the conference from businesses the party is having to turn some away.

It quotes “party insiders” saying that a full complement of 200 senior business people have signed up at a cost of £2,520 each to attend a special business forum on the Monday.

This will feature Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds.

It adds another 180 business leaders have been put on a waiting list and will only be able to attend if others drop out. Last year only 130 attended.

It is expected 300 chief executives and chairs of big UK companies will be coming to Liverpool for the event. This is more than attended during Tony Blair’s first term as Prime Minister. Business sponsorship is expected to hit £500,000, up from £200,000 in 2022.

Labour is currently riding high in the opinion polls, with percentage leads ranging from the mid-teens to the mid-20s. With an election likely to take place next year many businesses now believe Mr Starmer will be Britain’s next Prime Minister.

In May Mr Starmer attempted to woo businesses with a speech to the British Chambers of Commerce Global Annual Conference.

In his address he said: “It is obvious to me that the root cause of so many of our challenges is a lack of economic growth.


Labour Conference
Labour Conference at ACC Liverpool in September 2022


“I know what a lot of people in Westminster say about growth. They say it’s an abstract concept, doesn’t resonate, doesn’t connect with peoples’ lives, I don’t accept that.

“Growth is higher wages. Growth is stronger communities. Growth is thriving businesses. It’s more vibrant high streets, less poverty, more opportunity, warmer homes, healthier food, better jobs.”

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He went on: “We’re not just a pro-business party, we’re a party that is proud of being pro-business, that respects the contribution profit makes to jobs, growth and our tax base, and that working people want success as well as support.”

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