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Many political pundits have often accused Jeremy Corbyn of hating business and despising people who become rich and successful, but during a question and answer session following his speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) yesterday, the Labour leader eloquently and emphatically dispelled this myth with an entirely off the cuff and incredibly genuine answer to one concerned business leader.
Both Jeremy Corbyn and the Prime Minister Theresa May gave speeches to the CBI yesterday, primarily in order to sell their positions on Brexit.
However, following Mrs May’s latest desperate attempt to try and big up her increasingly fraught Brexit deal, it was the Labour leader who really shook things up amongst Britain’s business leaders, assuring the assembled audience he isn’t anti-business as the media has portrayed him, but that he simply wants those businesses that make huge profits to finally pay their fair share in taxes.
During the impromptu question and answer session, one business leader asked Jeremy Corbyn:
“What is your view on people personally doing financially well from businesses they start, found, grow or lead?”
The Labour leader responded incredibly eloquently, stating that he had absolutely no problem with people being successful and becoming rich, but that those who did should pay their fair share in tax to help pay for the vital services that them, their workers, and the rest of society relies upon.
During his response, Mr Corbyn also praised business for helping to develop the economy and to boost British technological advancements, but insisted that if huge corporations continually refused to pay their way, Britain would continue to see a ‘horribly divided society’.
You can read a transcript of Mr Corbyn’s answer below:
“I don’t have a problem with people doing well at all. Indeed I work with an know many people, in my own community and other places, that do set up and establish small businesses and sometimes they grow to be considerably larger.
They all go through the pain of trying to get premises, if they’re trying to make things; trying to borrow the money to do it, trying to fix it up and all that to get started. And they work incredibly hard, and they do take huge personal risks to achieve it.
Some fall by the wayside, and those businesses don’t make it. Others do very well. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem at all with that – quite the opposite.
It’s that dynamic that’s brought about much of the technical and economic development we’ve got in this country. But two things need to happen. One is: those innovative, creative people that have designed so much of the high technology we’ve got need support to do it and access to appropriate funding to get their businesses going.
And if they do become incredibly rich then I invite them to be happy with their wealth, but also to share it a bit by paying their taxes, as appropriately, so that our public services are there just as much as they’re there for everybody else – so that we don’t have this horribly divided society.
I don’t think any of us want to walk past rough sleepers when on the way into our businesses every day. What we want to do is to walk into our businesses knowing that we have a society that does care for the very vulnerable and those that have suffered all kinds of catastrophes in their lives – that makes for a happier society.
Many, I’m sure in this room, give and support charities in lots of ways and give to their community, and I thank business for that. But it’s also important that we have properly funded public services to make sure those services are for us all the time.”
And you can watch the video of Jeremy Corbyn’s incredibly concise and entirely spontaneous answer below: