Sir Keir Starmer said more inclusive workplaces can “unlock growth” and would play a part of Labour’s economic recovery plans as he spoke at an event to mark Pride.
The party leader renewed a commitment to ensure employees are “free of harassment” and “able to be entirely themselves” as he met LGBT+ business leaders on Thursday.
He was joined by shadow women and equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds, who said inclusive practices are “good for working people, good for business and good for our economy as a whole”.
In making its case, Labour pointed to research by Deloitte which suggested that up to a third of workers are considering moving to a more LGBT-friendly employer.
Inclusive businesses achieve greater share prices, market valuations and stronger cash flows through retaining staff and enabling higher-level collaboration, the party said.
Linda Riley, chief executive of Diva Magazine, and Iain Anderson, chairman of communications firm Cicero, were among LGBT+ business chiefs who joined the Labour leader at a roundtable discussion in central London.
Speaking at the event, Sir Keir said: “Britain’s economy is built on the efforts of working people and brilliant businesspeople. They will build the growth we need.
“The best teams value everyone for who they are, and in return they get the very best out of them.
“Those at the forefront of building these inclusive businesses know this is how you unlock growth and hold expertise. I saw that when I led a public service and now as I lead the Labour Party.
“Labour growth will be inclusive in every way – we will ensure working people are able to work free of harassment and able to be entirely themselves.”
Ms Dodds said: “Inclusion for LGBT+ people matters. We need to harness the potential of everyone in our economy and that means making sure that people at work feel safe and supported.
“Retaining and attracting talented staff is a huge challenge for firms, which is why inclusive practices are good for working people, good for business and good for our economy as a whole.
“Labour will make inclusion the norm, not the outlier, by requiring employers to tackle discrimination and harassment.”