October 10, 2011

Chuka Umunna appointed shadow business secretary

by Jan Harris

Ed Miliband’s newly announced shadow cabinet includes Chuka Umunna as shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills.

Mr Umunna has been an MP for less than 18 months, having been elected to his home constituency of Streatham last year.

However, he has been Shadow Minister for Small Business and Enterprise since May and has been involved with small business issues, business support and access to finance, corporate governance, deregulation and economic growth.

In October he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Labour leader.

Perhaps inevitably, the 32-year-old has been likened to Barack Obama, and has been tipped as a future Prime Mnister.

A former employment lawyer, he studied law at the Universities of Manchester and Burgundy, and at Nottingham Law School.

Last week Mr Umunna spoke out against the government’s claim that more than half a million new companies have been created since May 2010, saying it was ‘misleading’.

A press release by the Conservative Party claimed that 506,000 businesses have been created since they took office, according to figures from Companies House.

However, this figure includes all new registrations and does not take account of de-registrations.

These bring the real figure down to 108,000 new businesses created from May 2010 to August 2011, and 99,000 in the year to 1 August 2011.

Mr Umunna said: “It is shocking that ministers are misleading on the number of businesses being created and are seeking to mask the true picture of the UK economy by using a gross, rather than net, figure from Companies House”.

“By cutting too far and too fast, the government has dented confidence and is holding back the creation of new businesses,” he continued.

Other appointments to the shadow cabinet include Stephen Twigg (Education), Rachel Reeves (Treasury), Liz Kendall (Care), Michael Dugher (without portfolio) and Tom Watson (Deputy chair of the party).

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