Labour business manifesto pledges paternity leave extension

Labour will attempt to win back the business vote today after last week saw more than 100 senior executives criticise the party over its plans to rise national insurance contributions in 2011.

Business secretary Peter Mandelson will publish a manifesto that promises to promote start-up companies, freeze income tax rates and abandon any plans to set up a high pay commission to monitor top earners’ salaries, the Financial Times has reported.

The document also includes plans to extend statutory paternity leave to a month. Currently fathers are entitled to two weeks statutory paterntiy pay.

Mandelson told the newspaper he believed Labour would bounce back from its campaign start, arguing that prime minister Gordon Brown’s “seriousness” will shine through in the first prime ministerial television debate on Thursday.

The Conservatives last week won several senior executives’ respect after the party pledged to scrap the planned national insurance levy rise for low earners, at a cost of £6bn, instead stripping the public sector of inefficiencies.

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