Prince Charles set to court controversy again with comments on reforming capitalism

Prince Charles prompted a diplomatic spat with Russia last week when he compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler

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The Independent Online

The Prince of Wales is to speak at a major conference about reforming capitalism just days after the heir to the throne was warned not to speak out on matters of public controversy.

Prince Charles prompted a diplomatic spat with Russia last week when he compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler during a visit to Canada.

However the Prince will not be deflected from commenting on public affairs. Clarence House confirmed that he is address a conference staged by the Inclusive Capitalism Initiative at London’s Mansion House and Guildhall tomorrow (Tuesday).

The Prince is due to deliver the opening remarks at the conference, which will discuss measures to combat “worldwide increases in income inequality” as well as “historically high and persistent unemployment and short-term approaches to managing and owning companies.”

The agenda echoes Ed Miliband’s call for a “responsible capitalism” which would tackle issues such as excessive executive pay alongside reforms to create sustained growth and reduce inequality.

The conference seeks “practical ways to renew capitalism to make it an engine of economic opportunity and shared prosperity through the adoption of inclusive business practices.”

The event also asks how capitalism can generate “more jobs or better pay for workers”. The Prince’s speech will be followed with an address Michael Sommer, President of the German Confederation of Trade Unions and the International Trade Union Confederation.

His speech is titled: “The German model – how labour, management and capital can work together to increase the benefits of capitalism.”

Clarence House believes the conference is an appropriate forum for the Prince to speak. A spokesman said: “The Prince of Wales will attend the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism on Tuesday, as part of his standard engagement programme, at the invitation of the conference hosts The Lord Mayor of London and Lady de Rothschild. HRH will deliver the opening address, contributing to the discussion on ways to develop an inclusive, sustainable and resilient society."

The Prince can claim that he is in good company at the high-level event. Keynote speakers include Bill Clinton, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund.

A statement of its values on the Initiative’s website says: “Inclusive Capitalism is concerned with fixing the elevator of the economist Larry Katz’s famous analogy that portrays the American economy as an apartment block in which the penthouses have increased in size, the middle apartments are more and more squeezed, the basement is flooded, but what “gets people down the most” is that the elevator is broken.”

Financial backers of the conference include Len Blavatnik, the Ukraine-born oligarch, estimated to be the second-richest man in Britain, whose interests extend from oil and gas to the Warner Music group, home of Coldplay and Kylie Minogue.