General Election 2015: Ed Miliband accused of waging class warfare by Cobra Beer entrepreneur

Lord Bilmoria said Miliband was stirring up hostility towards businesses

Kunal Dutta
Tuesday 21 April 2015 09:31 BST
Lord Bilimoria established the Cobra beer empire
Lord Bilimoria established the Cobra beer empire

Ed Miliband is resurrecting a society of class warfare by stirring up hostility to businesses and "blowing issues like zero-hours contracts out of proportion", one of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs has warned.

Lord Bilimoria, who established the Cobra beer empire, attacked the Labour leader saying his focus on zero-hours contracts was misleading and that he had demonstrated a "startling lack of understanding" about how wealth and jobs are created.

“Fewer than 1 in 40 workers is subject to zero-hours contracts and, of those, 66 per cent say they don’t wish to work more hours than they do,” he wrote.

In the article for The Telegraph, the businessman, born in India and educated at Cambridge, said Mr Miliband’s policy priorities had “hamstrung his party’s ability to offer a genuinely inclusive vision for the country’s future.”

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He also attacked Labour’s pledge to abolish the “non-dom” tax status. “While there are legitimate arguments to say that the legislation is in need of modernisation, Ed Balls himself told journalists earlier this year that the prospect of such measures raising money were dubious at best,” he wrote.

The intervention of Lord Bilimoria is one of the strongest by a senior businessman since Stefano Pessina, the Boots boss, warned in February that Mr Miliband’s policies would be a “catastrophe” for business. The 53-year-old was one of over 100 business leaders to sign an open letter to the Daily Telegraph last month endorsing the coalition’s policy. He later moved to distance himself from the letter, telling Channel 4 News “I’m not supporting the Tories at all.”

The latest article added: “On immigration too, another issue crucial for any government seeking to present a genuinely national vision, Labour has been dismally silent. The damage caused by Theresa May’s economically illiterate crusade against migrants — not least her, now thankfully kyboshed, plans to sent foreign students home as soon as they graduate — has been huge.

“Yet, so busy has Ed Miliband been in trying to resurrect the social divisions of the 1970s, he has neglected to offer the electorate any kind of alternative to the alienation of British allies, from Delhi to Warsaw, which this coalition government has engaged in.”

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