Irvine's wallpaper firm in trouble
Wednesday 07 April 1999
But just when the Government thought that its decorating troubles were over, the wallpaper that adorns Lord Irvine's loo is once again causing a political stink.
Walker Greenbank, the company that makes the wall covering, yesterday blamed Labour's economic policies as it announced a pounds 3m drop in profits. The Hemel Hempstead-based firm said that the continuing strength of the pound had caused considerable damage to its business.
Nearly half of the company's turnover depends on exports and its annual report stated that difficult trading conditions in Europe had been worsened by the high level of sterling.
Walker Greenbank's chief executive, Aidan Connolly, said that the Government should act urgently to cut taxes and persuade the Bank of England to lower interest rates.
"This Government really hasn't delivered lower taxes and even though interest rates are coming down, they should be much lower, say, 3 per cent, to make a difference," he said.
Mr Connolly said that he felt no loyalty to the Government as his company had supplied the Palace of Westminster for years and Lord Irvine "just happened" to be in post when a refurbishment of his state apartments was needed.
Using language likely to make the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, blanch, he added that there was no way he could support Government policy. "We are a capitalist company, they are a socialist government," he said.
In the company's annual report, Mr Connolly stated: "Some 44 per cent of our turnover comes from our export efforts. It is inevitable that our profitability will be damaged with sterling at these levels."
John Redwood, the Conservative Trade and Industry spokesman, seized on these remarks as he launched the Tories' new job watch figures claiming that 10 people were put out of work every hour.
"Even the Lord Chancellor's vanity and the taxpayer's money can't make up for the failures of this Government's economic policies," he said.
"With sterling over DM2.90 and interest rates higher than on the continent, they have recreated the conditions of the ERM which act as a stranglehold on enterprise in the UK."
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...