Lord Alan Sugar slams "cushy" benefits system

Published Oct 18 2011, 00:01 BST  |  By

Lord Alan Sugar has slammed the "cushy" benefits system in the UK for discouraging people from work.

Speaking at the launch of Young Apprentice, the businessman criticised the previous Labour government for "the benefits systems and the so-called apprenticeship schemes" that he claimed were used to move people "out of the number crunching" of unemployment figures.

Lord Alan Sugar in The Apprentice boardroom

© BBC

Karren Brady from The Apprentice

© BBC



"There's too much of a culture that exists out there, what I call an expectancy culture, of things being provided," Sugar said.

"I'm afraid to say that the goody-goody benefits system we have in this system has made it a bit too cushy for people.

"Now it's a kind of wake-up call. Not everybody needs to go to university, they can get out and start working straight away."

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He added: "We've gone through an era in the early '00s and late '90s where the young people have these targets and want to start up there... they're not interested in dirtying their hands down here.

"They want to be a dot com, they want to go to venture capitalists, they want someone to give them money, they want the bank to give them money because they have an idea.

"That's all gone. It's finished. That era is over. We've got to put that message across. You have got to start down there."

Sugar was offered a peerage and made an 'enterprise tsar' by former prime minister Gordon Brown in 2009, though he described the role as "politically neutral" at the time.

Karren Brady, one of Sugar's two aides on the show, said: "With a bit of energy, a spark of an idea, some absolute determination, you can start something from nothing.

"When we talk to young people, that's what they say they've taken from the first series [of Junior Apprentice]. It's certainly the message."

Sugar said: "We want to try and show that you can start something from nothing and get away from this culture of university, then go on a gap year for two years, then get a job at some consultancy and then go on the dole."

Watch some of Lord Alan Sugar's classic lines from The Apprentice below: