Interesting to see James Caan, the Dragon’s Den star, come out in favour of the Tories’ NI policy.
I’ve spoken to another (well, former) Dragon’s Den panellist. It’s Simon Woodroffe, founder of YO! Sushi.
I called him because last year he was one of the few enterpreneurs to back the 50p income tax, saying that it was time for them to return something to society.
But Woodroffe does not support the National Insurance rise. Not was he very complimentary about Britain’s business leaders.
He called on industry to accept the need for higher taxes on large companies – but he told me that national insurance was the wrong way to go about it.
Instead, corporation tax – which falls on profits rather than jobs – would be the right way to levy more money from corporate Britain.
(Sir Stuart Rose also admitted on Today this morning that taxes did have to go up; his favoured option was VAT).
Woodroffe called on all businessmen to “stand up and take the rap” and admit that urgent action was necessary to tackle the deficit – and this could not be achieved only through efficiency savings and cutting public spending. But here his argument differed to Labour.
“What business should be saying is let’s change corporation tax. It would stand them in enormously good stead,” he said. Mr Woodroffe has sold a majority share in YO! Sushi and now runs a low-cost hotel accommodation chain called YOTEL.
“The government has to get the money somehow. It’s simple, we should take the tax off businesses that are making real profits, one good example is banks – they don’t employ that many people but make enormous profits. We are letting the biggest culprits off scot free.”
Admitting this, however, would involve a large change of heart by shareholders and directors alike, Mr Woodroffe said. “Everybody is in denial, every business group and the country at large.”