Yo! Sushi founder blasts Miliband

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Labour has come under attack from another senior business figure who claimed the party’s approach “scares” him.

Simon Woodroffe, the founder of restaurant chain Yo! Sushi and a former Labour supporter, said he was worried about the way Ed Miliband had targeted business leaders.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls insisted the party was pro-business – but he was unable to remember the full name of an expert who has been advising Labour.

Mr Woodroffe said: “What I worry about with Ed Miliband is that he is appealing to the popular by saying ‘look at these fat cats making lots of money, it should be for the workers’.

“Actually, I think the fat cats, generally, sometimes it annoys me, but they pay their taxes, you know.

“Actually, they are paying over 50% a lot of the time with this new cap on national insurance.

“The world is right as it is. And we need to get on as a country, UK PLC, and make lots of money, be very successful. And do things.”

The businessman, who has donated to senior Tory MP Oliver Letwin since supporting Labour, told BBC2’s Newsnight political parties had to support business.

Asked what he thought of Labour’s current approach to business, Mr Woodroffe said: “You know it scares me.

“I was a Labour Party supporter during the Blair-Brown thing and I was a supporter because I am a believer that politics needs to make money, that UK PLC needs to be a profitable business, and I thought they were a good management team.

“So, that’s what I’m looking for. Now, I’m not from the homelands of Labour, I’m not even from the homelands of the Conservatives.

“But I want somebody who really appreciates that business has got to succeed first before we can share out the money.”

Mr Woodroffe’s comments followed criticism from corporate bosses including Boots chief Stefano Pessina, who suggested it could be a “catastrophe” if Mr Miliband became prime minister.

Shadow chancellor Mr Balls told Newsnight that while the Conservatives had “lurched to the right”, Labour was “the centre ground, pro-business party today”.

But he failed to remember the full name of Bill Thomas, the former HP and EDS executive who is leading Labour’s small business task force.

Appearing on Newsnight, Mr Balls said he had come from a dinner with “a number” of business figures who backed Labour.

Asked who was there, Mr Balls said: ” Bill … the former chief executive of EDS, whom I was talking to just a few moments ago … he is a big supporter of ours.”

Pressed on his name, he said: “To be honest his surname has just gone from my head, which is a bit annoying at this time of night.”

Mr Balls later said on Twitter: “I know, I know. Bill Thomas, our Small Business Taskforce Chair, will never forgive me. It’s an age thing!”

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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