Tuesday 27 March 2018 / 12:01 AM Business / Press Releases / Rebecca Long Bailey

Labour to place economic diversity at heart of industrial strategy – Rebecca Long-Bailey

Today at the Diversity Business Summit Labour will set out a “Diversity Charter Challenge” to improve the representation of women and minorities in key sectors of the UK economy.

The party will challenge each sector to come together to write its own diversity charter following the model set out by Jayne Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money in her Women in Finance Review.

Under Labour’s proposal, every sector with a major presence in the UK economy will be mandated to develop and implement a Diversity Charter.

This will begin with the extension of the Finance Charter to cover race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic background and disability, and the initial establishment of Charters for the tech sector and for the creative industries.

The design of the Charters will be industry-led, and the policy will be spearheaded by ‘diversity champions’ appointed by the party.

Labour will appoint diversity champions across all sectors. They will be prominent industry figures who have a proven track record of championing diversity.

Our first diversity champion to be announced is actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry, who will be Labour’s diversity champion for the creative industries.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commenting, said:

“We must not only push for greater diversity at the very top but at every level of a business, ensuring that all workers are able to succeed, regardless of their race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background.

“Labour will create a high-skilled, high-wage, high-productivity economy – and our diversity charters will ensure that ‘good jobs’ are accessible to the many, not just to a privileged few.”

Shadow minister for industrial strategy, science and innovation Chi Onwurah MP commenting said:

“Diversity is not an optional add-on, it is an economic imperative – and Labour’s industrial strategy has been written with this in mind.

“It’s no surprise that this Government is failing on productivity and growth when key industries are failing to utilise the talents of the whole population: only 5% of leadership positions in the tech sector are held by women and ethnic minorities are underrepresented across the creative industries.

“By setting out diversity charters for major sectors of the economy, we will provide transparency and accountability, ensuring no company or sector can hide a dismal diversity record.”

Sir Lenny Henry, Labour’s diversity champion for the creative industries, commenting, said:

“My colleagues and I have been calling for greater diversity in the creative industries for years but sadly only baby steps have been taken to improve BAME representation in sectors such as film and television.

“It’s fantastic that Labour is putting diversity at the heart of its economic agenda and I look forward to hearing how Rebecca and Chi plan to encourage a more diverse and inclusive creative sector.”