PM must help firms, says former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne


Former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne calls on Government to ramp up support for struggling firms

Support: Duncan Bannatyne said he closed four of his gyms permanently because of the disruption of the past two years

Former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne has called on the Government to ramp up its support for struggling firms. 

He wants the Prime Minister to turbocharge financial aid as part of her forthcoming emergency budget. Liz Truss announced a £150 billion energy support package last week. 

This includes just six months’ cover for business compared with a two-year freeze for household consumers. 

The entrepreneur wants an energy cap for business, significant cuts to VAT and a reduction in employers’ National Insurance (NI). He told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘The leisure sector is once again being ignored. 

‘We are just recovering from the Covid pandemic and now the energy price rise is another huge obstacle to the return to profitability. The difference with Covid is that the Government can actually do something about this.’ 

His remarks follow last week’s warning from Iceland frozen foods boss Richard Walker, who told the MoS that he has shelved new store openings due to rocketing energy bills. 

Bannatyne, 73, said he closed four of his gyms permanently because of the disruption of the past two years. 

The leisure tycoon told this newspaper last year that the pandemic cost him £50million. 

Last night he said: ‘A realistic energy price cap, a 5 per cent cut in VAT and reduced employers’ NI will go a long way to saving businesses and jobs.’

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