Labour's press and policy operation has swung back into action with just weeks to go before local and metro-mayoral elections across the UK on 5 May.

The string of announcements from Jeremy Corbyn and his top team come after political journalists, including The Times' deputy political editor Sam Coates, criticised Labour's slow response to government announcements.

But the parliamentary recess has seen Labour dominate the headlines, with Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner promising to provide free meals for all primary school pupils in England on Thursday (6 April), Corbyn committing to a minimum wage of at least £10 ($12.4) per hour on Monday and the Labour leader visiting the Federation of Small Businesses on Tuesday.

The left-winger will use his address to "declare war" on big businesses over late payments.

"Cash is king for any business, and big companies are managing their cash by borrowing – interest free – from their suppliers," he will say.

"Some of the biggest names in business are holding cash piles that don't actually belong to them. It's a national scandal. And it's stopping businesses from growing and causing thousands to go bust every year. It kills jobs and holds back economic growth."

But Liberal Democrat economic spokesperson Susan Kramer said Corbyn "doesn't understand or respect" business.

"His extreme Labour Party lacks all economic credibility and would drive many firms out of business. Most people who graft running small businesses would be terrified if Jeremy Corbyn ever got anywhere near Number 10," she said.

"He ordered his MPs to vote to take Britain out of the single market, which could cost the UK economy as much as £200bn over the next 15 years. He just doesn't seem to realise that you can't have a hard Brexit and a successful economy.

"With the Conservatives also pursuing a hard Brexit, the Liberal Democrats are emerging as the only party of business."

Elsewhere, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is expected to unveil another policy on Wednesday. Labour is hoping that the announcements will increase the party's popularity as the Conservatives are 18 points ahead (43% versus 25%) in the latest opinion poll from ICM.