LETTER: Industrial policy by consensus

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From Mr Gerald Frankel

Sir: Chris Blackhurst's article "City fails to buy Blair's `New Labour' message", 21 December) reports Hemmington-Scott's poll of 600 company directors and their views of corporate Britain under a Blair government.

Its sceptical findings do not match the experience and responses of the company directors who are involved with the Industry Forum - the organisation established in 1994 to facilitate an ongoing dialogue with industry, the City and the Labour Party. The members have been increasingly impressed by Labour's activity to develop industrial policy by consensus and to set up a genuine dialogue with British business representatives throughout the UK.

Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary Margaret Beckett heads a series of taskforces in which key members of industry and the financial sector are exchanging views with the Labour Party to help shape its industrial policy. Far from dashing Labour's hopes of winning over the business community, as Mr Blackhurst suggests, it is my experience as chair of the Industry Forum that all our cross-party membership remains open-minded. In addition, increasing numbers are convinced that Labour will succeed in its consensual approach and has already demonstrated a clear understanding of the country's industrial needs.

Yours faithfully,

Gerald Frankel

Chair, Industry Forum

London, W1

21 December