In Brief

Jeremy Corbyn to curb ‘destructive’ City of London’s power

Labour leader threatens to make bankers ‘servants of industry not the masters of us all’

Jeremy Corbyn has gone on an all-out offensive against the City of London, vowing to make bankers “the servants of industry not the master of us all” if he wins power.

Addressing the EEF manufacturing conference, the Labour leader promised “decisive action” to rebalance the economy and break the finance sector’s “destructive” and “undemocratic” control over industry and politics.

“For a generation, instead of finance serving industry, politicians have served finance. We've seen where that ends,” he said, promising to be “the first in 40 years to stand up for the real economy” and combat the “financial wizardry” running through the City.

After the attempted takeover of the GKN engineering group by Melrose Industries, Corbyn also promised to strengthened government powers to intervene in hostile takeovers.

It was a speech “that will send shivers through the banking industry”, says The Daily Telegraph, and was roundly criticised by financiers, business groups and some Tory MPs for what they saw as an overly aggressive tone.

The Conservatives renewed their familiar attack line, saying Labour would “end up harming Britain's businesses”, while prominent Tory backbencher and possible leadership candidate, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said the attack on the City would hit industry as well.

“To view them as masters and servants is ill-informed,” he told the Telegraph.

The Institute of Directors was more measured in its response, with its head of external affairs Jamie Kerr saying: “This reality is often lost in the rush to cast bankers as the bogeymen of British business. Blaming the financial sector for all our woes is neither constructive nor legitimate.”

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