What a Labour government means for the aftermarket

It’s official: a general election has been called.

Most pundits reckon, come the end of 4 July, that the next government will have a red tinge. That said, some think it possible that we’ll see a hung government with no overall control.

The parties will have been working on their manifestoes for the election. However, at the time of writing they haven’t been released.

A Labour government could have ramifications for businesses and it’s not all negative according to an open letter signed by 121 business leaders in support of the party.

So what could a Labour government mean, especially for the automotive aftermarket? We take a look to try and cut through the guff.


Employment rights are a key element of Labour’s doctrine and a January 2024 document, A New Deal for Working People, highlights a number of changes that employers will be concerned about. The document addresses pay, job security, inequality, and discrimination.

Chief among the policies are the creation of a single status of ‘worker’ that will cover everyone apart from the ‘genuinely self-employed’. All will have the same basic rights and protections including sick pay, parental leave, and protection against unfair dismissal without the need for a qualifying period of service.

Next are plans to expand unfair dismissal protections. Here Labour will scrap the qualifying period for bring in a dismissal claim, remove the statutory caps which limit compensation, and extend the limitation periods in which employees can bring a claim.

The amount of Statutory Sick Pay will be increased and will be available to all workers, including the self-employed and those on low wages. There will also be a ban on zero hours contracts. Similarly, Labour will end fire and rehire where staff are fired only to be rehired on poorer terms. And along with this Labour will introduce the ‘right to switch off’ where workers will gain the right to disconnect from work outside of working hours.

It may concern employers that the National Minimum Wage will be raised immediately to £10 per hour for all. Also, Labour will strengthen workplace rights by extending the time periods for bringing claims to an Employment Tribunal, remove compensation caps, and introduce penalties for employers who break the law or fail to comply with tribunal orders.

Not unsurprisingly, trade union legislation will be updated. And stronger family-friendly rights will be introduced along with more protections for pregnant women.

Finally, workplace harassment will be tackled by Labour which will require employers to make their workplaces in such a way as to be free from harassment, including by third parties.


Labour says that it “has a long term plan for growth…to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7.” And it’s basing this on what it calls ‘Securonomics’ or ‘modern supply side’ economics where the state intervenes more.

The party wants to encourage more UK self-reliance and greater “economic stability that gives businesses the confidence to invest.”

It says that it will reform welfare to help individuals back into work while giving local communities powers to regenerate high streets and town centres.

This is all in contrast to the Corbyn years and as a result, the party is on a charm offensive to persuade commerce that it is more business-friendly – hence the open letter from the business leaders. Pledges to nationalise the public utilities, increase government spending, and raise corporate tax rates have been kicked into the long grass in favour of a more pro-business agenda.

Labour is particularly keen to demonstrate its claim to be the party of stability. It states that any significant tax and spending changes will, by law, be subject to independent analysis and forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). And to provide greater predictability and so enable businesses to take long-term investment decisions, Labour says that it would also publish a ‘roadmap’ for business taxation within six months of coming to power while capping corporation tax at its current rate of 25 percent.

The party says that it is prioritising fiscal prudence and the need to establish credibility; it recently dropped its pledge to spend £28 billion a year on green investment because of the policy’s cost. Moreover, Labour has adopted the current government’s ‘fiscal rule’, where public debt as a share of GDP must fall by the fifth year of the OBR’s forecast. Also, it would move to a fiscal rule that targeted day-to-day spending instead of the overall deficit which it thinks will improve the outlook for long-term investment.

But as a bite size guide to its thinking, in February, Labour launched a Five point plan for growth that it says is “about kickstarting growth in all parts of the country.”

This involves putting economic stability first by introducing “a new fiscal lock” to bring what it terms “economic security back to our national and family finances.” It referred to the economic turbulence of the short-lived Truss premiership.

Next Labour wants to get Britain building again through a reform of reforming planning legislation. Specifically, it is looking to 1.5 million new homes, new transport infrastructure, clean energy, and new industries. It considers this the “key to growth and the foundations of security.”

The third strand of Labour’s economic policy is to back British business via an industrial strategy “created in partnership with business to maximise Britain’s strengths in life sciences, digital, creative, financial industries, clean power and automotive sectors.” It will create a National Wealth Fund to aid private investment.

Skills are a concern for Labour and will kickstart a skills revolution through a new generation of Technical Excellence Colleges, high quality apprenticeships, and training opportunities tailored to local jobs in all parts of the country.

The last part of the policy is to make work pay through the employment changes listed earlier.


All of these claims are hyperbolic until they are enacted. And, of course, governments are known to change their minds, and sometimes bring in retrospective changes which some consider to be unfair. Even so, it’ll be interesting to see what comes out in the manifestos when they are published in due course.

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