Don't Sugar Coat It: Are Small Businesses Moaners?

Last Updated Nov 4, 2009 1:49 PM EST

Stop moaning and blaming your woes on the banks, small business 'tsar' Alan Sugar told small business bosses earlier this week. Speaking to small and medium-sized enterprises at an event in Manchester, Lord Sugar told them that only a small proportion of small business 'moaners' were justified in complaining about being turned down for bank loans. The rest were, he added, had lived too long in a "Disney World" of ready credit.

According to Scotland's Daily Record, he launched into an eight-minute rant after one conference deleate complained he'd been turned down by four banks for a £20k loan.

The government's "enterprise champion" also tore a strip off government for raising false expectations among SMEs. "I think they got misunderstood by a lot of people who thought they could just walk up to the wall somewhere, press some numbers... and cash was going to come out of the wall".

An FSB spokesman jumped to small business owners' defence, while the Lib Dem party's spokesman said: "The prime minister must not allow Lord Sugar's celebrity to distract him from the absolutely desperate message this sends."

"Can we get off this bloody recession kick once and for all," he growled at a BBC reporter and called for a more a more positive outlook from the media. Small business just need to adapt to the current climate.

What do small business bosses themselves think? The two interviewed on the BBC clip agreed with Lord Sugar and were enjoying strong growth despite the economy. But Harry Phibbs accused Lord Sugar, now worth an estimated £730m, of forgetting his own early life as an entrepreneur. "Having climbed the ladder himself, he should not kick it away."

What do you think?