Dozens of business leaders have signed a letter endorsing the Labour Party’s economic plans ahead of the 4 July general election saying it is “time for a change”.

In a letter published in Tuesday’s Times newspaper, 121 founders, CEOs, and former leaders at a range of financial services, retail and manufacturing firms say Labour has changed and “wants to work with business” on long term growth.

It comes as shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves is due to deliver her first major speech of the election campaign to business supporters, including some former Conservative backers in the East Midlands later.

She is expected to say she will lead the most “pro-growth Treasury in our country’s history”.

Labour is borrowing from the Conservatives’ playbook in getting business leaders to endorse their economic plans.

Ahead of the 2015 election, 100 corporate leaders endorsed the Conservatives.

One of those, Malcolm Walker – the founder of supermarket chain Iceland – will now endorse Labour instead.

Other former Tory business letter signatories have told BBC News they will keep their counsel amid disappointment over the Liz Truss’s mini-budget, the Brexit deal and a general expectation of a change of government.

Among those who have signed the letter in the Times are some CEOs of smaller companies, former bosses at Aston Martin, ad giant WPP and Heathrow Airport.

The CEOs of the UK’s very largest FTSE 100-size companies tend to avoid taking sides in elections, and have not today.

It is also unclear how representative this group of Labour backers are of business in general and their sectors in particular.

But Ms Reeves believes this public display of support for Labour will demonstrate its credibility to the public.

Some Conservative business figures said there had been no effort similar to 2015 to organise a Tory business endorsement letter.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s advisers are known to be warning businesses about what they say is a move to French-style workers’ rights should Labour win.

Some top retailers have expressed concern about the plan, including a repeal of Conservative anti-strike laws.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott said: “Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have a clear plan that businesses can rely on.

“We took the bold action to deliver the biggest business tax cut in modern history”.

The Lib Dems told BBC News that businesses are “crying out for stability and certainty after years of the Conservatives’ chaos and mismanagement”.

“The Liberal Democrats would launch an industrial strategy to boost investment and reform the broken business rates system to support our high streets,” a spokesperson said.



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