The Apprentice’s Lord Alan Sugar has come under fire for comments he made; declaring many business owners as “moaners”. The business and enterprise tsar’s remarks came as complaints about the lack of bank lending to small businesses are on the increase. Sugar stated that the majority of complainers had no grounds to grumble. He also dismissed young business owners who, he said, were only used to the “Disneyworld” lending over the last ten years.

His comments have been criticised by the Forum of Private Business (FPB) as “misguided”. Their chief executive, Phil Orford, stated: “Sir Alan’s comments were quite insensitive and completely erroneous on several points. Contrary to Sir Alan’s comments about younger entrepreneurs harbouring unrealistic expectations about credit, I can tell him that many of our members are similar in age to him – they are in their fifties and sixties and they have lived through several recessions. Yet they are still deeply unhappy with the restrictive lending conditions and the increased lending costs which have been imposed on them over the past 12 months.”

He continued: “Secondly, his view that banks should be free to do what they please and shouldn’t be lectured to by the government misses the point. The financial bail-out used a vast amount of taxpayers’ cash and we will all be paying the price for years to come through higher taxes and public spending cuts. So it’s not surprising if business owners feel as though they should be seeing a little more support from the very institutions they helped to save from collapse.”

Orford concluded: “Sir Alan is of course a celebrated rags-to-riches success story who started his business empire from his family’s East End flat. But perhaps his £700 million fortune has dulled his memories of running a small firm and lessened his understanding of the very people the Government hired him to represent.”

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