Thursday 16 June 2022 / 2:42 PM Labour Press / The Latest from Labour

Labour announces review to ensure “Britain is the best place in the world to start and grow a business” 

Speaking at the Times CEO Summit in London today, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves will launch a new review to make sure start-ups in the UK can reach their full potential in one of the most innovative countries in the world.

Driven by leading entrepreneurs and innovation leaders – including cross bench peer Lord Jim O’Neill – the review will explore how to ensure start-ups can thrive and grow in Britain, to boost jobs, investment and economic growth across the country.

The review will look at issues such as access to patient capital; the incentives for growing businesses in the UK; the role of universities; and how to boosting diversity among British founders and entrepreneurs. 

Reeves, a former Bank of England economist, launched the review as the party continues to demonstrate its pro-worker, pro-business agenda. Along with Labour leader Keir Starmer and Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds, the party has been working hard to build credibility with businesses across the country.

The panel leading the review includes former Treasury minister and founder of Northern Gritstone, Lord Jim O’Neill; the CEO of Resi, Alex Depledge; the Director of Entrepreneurship Institute at Kings College London, Julie Devonshire; and Co-Founder of Extend Ventures, Tom Adeyoola.

Over the last year, Labour has underlined its pro-business credentials with strong engagement across a number of sectors, and eye-catching commitments – including scrapping business rates and replacing them with a fairer and more modern system, and a plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain.

Speaking at the Times CEO Summit, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP will say:

“Britain has immense resources in the creativity and drive of our entrepreneurs, and the innovative capacity of our universities. 

“But something I have heard repeatedly from businesspeople is a real worry about the small number of start-ups listing in the UK and the stubborn obstacles preventing many of them from scaling up.  

“Labour’s mission is to build an institutional ecosystem offering the market the access, finance, and skills that new and growing businesses need.” 

Shadow Business Secretary, Jonathan Reynolds said:

“Britain is home to many fantastic businesses but we can and should be home to so many more.

“Labour will match the ambition and drive of our visionary entrepreneurs to build the businesses of the future and get our economy firing on all cylinders.”

Review panel member Lord Jim O’Neill said:

“The more all political parties support the eco-system of start-ups for the UK, the more they become entwined in the DNA of policy thinking for the future.

“I welcome the Shadow Chancellor’s enthusiastic focus on this space and am pleased to play a part in this review.”


Notes to Editors

Rachel Reeves will be speaking at the Times CEO Summit in London on Thursday, 16th June.

The review will look at:

  • What more can we do to ensure new and growing businesses have access to capital, and in particular patient capital?
  • Do we have the right incentives for growing businesses in the UK, and how do they compare to other countries?
  • Do universities have the right skills, structures and incentives to allow them to successfully spin out and grow businesses?
  • How do we improve access to public procurement for start-ups?
  • How do we ensure we have a better geographical distribution of start-up high-growth businesses across the UK?
  • Should we be encouraging more firms to list in London? If so, how?
  • How do we ensure that women and people from ethnic minorities can access the finance, support, and networks necessary to successfully start businesses?

The first meeting of the panel is expected to be in July, with the publication of a review in Autumn 2022.

Panel Members for Labour’s start-up review

Tom Adeyoola is a technology entrepreneur passionate about disruptive technology for societal and climate good. He was CEO and Founder of acquired apparel technology scale-up Metail (2008-2019). He is currently a cofounder of nonprofit Extend Ventures, which aims to diversify access to finance for underrepresented founders through data and research. He also serves as Non-Exec Director for zero carbon monitoring consultancy Verco and environmental behavioural change start-up ‘Do Nation’.  In addition, he is an active angel investor, chair of mindfulness app Spoke, governor of his former school St. Paul’s, member of the London Mayor’s Business Advisory Board and served on the board of the women’s personal wellness scale-up Elvie (2013-2017).  Tom was also involved with the creation of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

Alex Depledge is CEO and co-founder of, the UK’s largest home improvement platform. As of 2022, Resi has helped over 5000 homeowners transform their properties and employs over 100 residential, financial, and coding experts. Recently named as one of the UK’s 30 Female Founders to watch by the Financial Times, Alex has also earned herself an MBE for her services to the British tech industry. Her first start-up – founded again with her long-standing business partner, Jules Coleman –, went on to become Europe’s largest domestic cleaning marketplace and was sold for a reported £27 million.

Julie Devonshire is the Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London supporting students, alumni and staff to learn entrepreneurial skills, acquire entrepreneurial experience and launch start-ups of their own. Over the last five years King’s has supported more than 120 ventures that have collectively raised £55.5m in investment and employ over 400 people. Julie is an ACCA Fellow and award-winning social entrepreneur, receiving an OBE in 2016 for her services to entrepreneurship, in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List.

Lord Jim O’Neill is a cross bench peer, and non-exec chairman of Northern Gritstone. He was Chief Economist, Goldman Sachs (2001-2013) and Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management (2010-2013). From 2015, Jim served as a government minister having responsibility for championing the Northern Powerhouse and the focus on driving innovation to the North of England. Jim remains deputy chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. Jim is an alumus of the University of Sheffield as well as being an Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester.