Comments row peer 'back in Number 10'

 

A peer who quit his post as an adviser to David Cameron amid fury over his claims that most people had "never had it so good" has been given his old job back, it was reported today.

Lord Young was the Prime Minister's enterprise tsar until he declared that low interest rates meant home-owners were actually better off thanks to the "so-called recession".

 

But the 79-year-old Conservative is returning to his former Downing Street role just 11 months after he stepped down, according to The Telegraph.

 

Officials have reportedly converted a No 10 meeting room into an office for the peer to use in his unpaid role that will focus on finding ways of removing barriers to growth for small and medium size companies.

 

Lord Young, a former trade and industry secretary under Margaret Thatcher, had also dismissed the 100,000 job cuts expected each year in the public sector as being "within the margin of error" in the context of a 30 million-strong workforce, and said that complaints about spending cuts came from "people who think they have a right for the state to support them".

 

At the time, No 10 branded the comments "offensive" and "inaccurate".

 

Downing Street said this afternoon it was unable to confirm the appointment. It is understood, however, that an announcement is expected shortly.

 

Shadow small business minister Toby Perkins said: "Just when you think that David Cameron could not get more out of touch and out of date, he brings back a man who thought that people have 'never had it so good' in this 'so-called recession'.

 

"With unemployment rising and the Tories tearing themselves apart over Europe, Lord Young's reappointment shows David Cameron is still playing along to the Tories' old tunes.

 

"Rather than spending his time trying to find jobs for discredited advisers from the Thatcher era or having private negotiations with his Europhobic backbenchers, David Cameron should spend more time trying to save the jobs of British workers and get our economy growing again."

 

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Government is committed to do everything we can to help and promote small and medium-sized businesses and that we have the best people in the job to help us do that. Further announcements will be made shortly."

Reuters

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