Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Sugar outburst at recession query

Lord Sugar: "I think it is about time we stop talking about this recession"

Apprentice star and government business adviser Lord Sugar turned the air blue when he was asked how the UK can get out of recession.

The entrepreneur swore and told the BBC: "Can't we get off this recession kick once and for all? I don't think we're in one now, ok?"

Lord Sugar said there had been "too much moaning" about the economy and urged a "few more positive stories".

The tycoon was appointed as an unpaid "enterprise tsar" earlier this year.

'Politically neutral'

He was ennobled in the summer on the recommendation of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Conservatives have said Lord Sugar should decide whether he acts as a government adviser or appears on The Apprentice, one of the BBC's most popular shows.

I can honestly say a lot of problems you hear from people who are moaning are from companies I would not lend a penny to.
Lord Sugar

They argue the two roles are "completely incompatible".

The peer has described himself as "politically neutral", saying he wants to "help businesses and enterprise".

But speaking at a conference, Lord Sugar said some companies should be allowed to go bust and to expect banks to hand out credit willy-nilly to businesses was "Disney World" thinking.

"I can honestly say a lot of problems you hear from people who are moaning are from companies I would not lend a penny to.

"They are bust. The moaners are bust. They are bust and they don't need the bank - they need an insolvency practitioner."

'Desperate message'

But business groups said many companies would be offended by Lord Sugar's comments.

"Most small companies live in the real world, not Disney World, and they lie at the heart of our economy," said a spokesman from the Federation of Small Businesses.

"They are not moaners and the fact is they are working hard in difficult times and they need help from our banks."

The Lib Dems said the peer's remarks cast doubt over his role.

"The prime minister must not allow Lord Sugar's celebrity to distract him from the absolutely desperate message this sends," said the party's business spokesman John Thurso.

"If he cannot get this, the prime minister must tell him 'you're fired'."

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