If Rishi Sunak has any thoughts of a leadership contest in the near future, he’ll be reassured to know that one of the UK’s best-known business advisers is very much behind him.
Nick Hewer, who was formerly the eyes and ears of Lord Sugar on TV’s The Apprentice, was a judge at ‘Wellingborough School – The Apprentice’, which set Year 11 pupils the task of coming up with an idea and design for a board game within just a few hours.
During his visit, Nick spoke to broadcaster John Griff for the All Things Business podcast, and when asked by John for his views on the Chancellor, and whether or not he would like to see him as Prime Minister, Nick didn’t hesitate.
“I do! I wish! And soon! Frankly, I think he’s smart, he’s eloquent and appears very thoughtful and he was a banker, and whatever people think of them, they’re not stupid. And I would rate him so highly because I think some of the others in our Government are not of the highest calibre.
“If there is one hero in my book during the pandemic it is Rishi Sunak. Yes, we’re £3m in debt and that’s hard, we’re going to be paying more tax, you bet we are, but he held the place together, he really did. And full marks to him for that.
“Of course, everyone will hate him soon because it won’t be long before he’ll have to start raising taxes.”
Speaking about his experience at Wellingborough School – The Apprentice, Nick explained how important he believes it is to make sure children understand how budgets and spending work, out in the world and at home.
“Education is not all about Greek and Latin and the rest of it, it’s about knowing and understanding how the world works. The Britain of larger employers, the likes of British Steel and British Railways, has gone and so there is an imperative for people to be able to exercise their entrepreneurship and start new companies. We will become a nation of small companies and service industries, so it is vital children understand economics.
“And entrepreneurship is in the gut and there will be in this school, today, some future business leaders, because they can’t help themselves. They’ll be out in the playground selling chewing gum for profit or something like that – that’s how people like Richard Branson started. Alan Sugar was selling photographs of parents and their newborn babies when he was 14 – he just couldn’t help himself.
“So, let’s talk about collaboration. We’re in a difficult situation because we’re coming out of a pandemic and Brexit is beginning to bite. So, let’s say I’m starting a business and I want a loan, that’s tricky, but I think the Government can press the banks into being more loose-limbed about lending money to worthwhile business ideas.”
The All Things Business podcast is a monthly round-up of the thoughts and ideas of businesses and businesspeople from across the region. Listen to the latest edition, and past episodes, here.