Government should tell Sugar ‘You’re Fired’ after controversial speech

The star of the BBC’s “Apprentice” TV show stunned guests at an SME event in Manchester this week by calling struggling business owners “moaners” who “live in Disneyland.”
Lord Sugar, who is the Government’s “enterprise champion” also claimed 85 per cent of small firms refused bank loans were not worth lending to, and added that what many firms needed was not a bank, but an insolvency adviser.
He made the comments after one guest at the event told him that four banks had refused to lend him £20,000 to help supply paint to hospital wards because of “cash flow” difficulties.
Ellis Organ, financial director at Clifton Asset Management, which provides specialist financial and strategic advice to SMEs, said the remarks showed Sir Alan was unfit to continue in his role as a Government adviser.
Lord Sugar told the audience: “I can honestly say a lot of problems you hear from people who are moaning are from companies I wouldn’t lend a penny to.
“They are bust and don’t need the bank – they need an insolvency practitioner. I would look you right in the eye and tell you out of 100 complaints, on investigation, I would say 15 of them had something to moan about.
“The problem is that some younger people who have lived through the last ten years or so of business think the irresponsible manner in which the banks dealt is the norm.
“Let me tell you, you have lived in an unrealistic Disneyworld in the way banks dished out money.”
Mr Organ commented: “These remarks from the Government’s so-called ‘enterprise tsar’ caused great offence and show he is unfit for the role.
“His advice to Gordon Brown appears to be: ‘If small businesses have cashflow problems, let them fail. They aren’t worth supporting. It calls to mind Marie Antoinette’s infamous ‘let them eat cake’ remark.
“It may not have occurred to Sir Alan, as he ranted to over 300 business owners in Manchester, that many of the people he was addressing were in that very same predicament.
“Over the last six months our specialists have talked at length with over 7,500 business owners, many boasting sound businesses that through no fault of their own, have suffered at the hands of the worst recession in our lifetime. To have told these people to pack it in would not only have been a disservice to them, but to the country as a whole.
“We desperately need someone in Government who is prepared to stand up for the interests of SMEs, whereas Lord Sugar seems to have lost touch with his roots. He needs a taste of his own medicine and to be told: ‘You’re fired!’”