Dream business cabinet


Could business people run the country better than the politicians? Judge for yourself with our line-up

Soaring unemployment. Plummeting consumer confidence. Anarchy on the streets. Turmoil in the City.

Let’s face it: the State is in a bit of a state.

Who can sort the country out? We’ve assembled our dream UK government, comprising the best of British business.

Read our selections below – then tell us whether you agree.

Prime minister: Sir Ronald Cohen

As co-founder of Apax Partners, Sir Ronald is the godfather of British venture capital. As chairman of Bridge Ventures, he’s a passionate advocate for social investment and enterprise. The UK is in a turnaround situation. Sir Ronald is the man to lead the country out of it.

Business secretary: Dame Marjorie Scardino

Yes, she’s US-born. But she’s also a British citizen; the first female CEO of a FTSE 100 company; and a truly global thinker with an enviable track record for growing profits. Last year Fortune ranked Scardino third in its list of female global leaders. But she’s our number one choice for leading the UK’s private sector into a more prosperous future.

Chancellor of the exchequer: Sir Philip Green

As Independent editor Chris Blackhurst, who knows Green, once said the owner of Arcadia Group can walk into a restaurant, scan the room and instantly calculate whether it is profitable. His big, brash brain can compute prices, square footage and customer footfall in the blink of an eye. In other words, he’s just the man to manage the haemorrhaging public purse right now.

Foreign secretary: Sir Richard Branson

Branson was once tipped as a future British Ambassador to the United States. We’d go one further and give him the top Foreign and Commonwealth job. When it comes to advancing the British brand abroad, nobody does it better.

Home secretary: Lord Sugar

Whatever you think about the entrepreneur, Twitter addict and Apprentice boss, few doubt that he has a clear sense of right and wrong. His new book, The Way I See It, proves that he’s itching to set the country to rights. This job would allow him to put policies where his mouth is.

Environment secretary: Tim Smit

The Eden Project was Smit’s vision. It’s proven a socioeconomic as well as environmental triumph – creating jobs and attracting hoards of tourists to a previously poor, unemployment-stricken corner of the West Country. The UK’s green strategy needs this kind of bold, creative thinking to ensure that cutting carbon also means growing the economy.

Health secretary: Jamie Oliver

The chef-turned-TV-presenter-turned-social-entrepreneur recently declared that he’s given up on ministers’ ability to tackle childhood obesity and other public health crises. Let’s put him in charge to see whether he can do any better. We reckon he could.

Culture secretary: Kanya King

The founder of the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards already works with the government on a range of projects to help reduce gun crime and tackle poverty. She’s brave – remortgaging her house to get the MOBOs off the ground. And she’s got bags of energy. Jeremy Hunt: it’s time to make way for someone more interesting….

Defence secretary: Hilary Devey

When it comes to leading the armed forces, mastery of logistics is crucial – particularly in these cash-strapped times. Toughness is vital, too. Freight millionaire – and the latest addition to the BBC’s Dragons’ Den – Hilary Devey has both qualities in spades. And she’s even served in the Women’s Royal Air Force.

Education secretary: Sir Alec Reed

Founder of the global Reed recruitment group and a serial philanthropist, Sir Alec knows more than anyone else about the knowledge and skills that UK businesses need to succeed – and is passionate about securing the future of the next generation.

Transport secretary: Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou

easyJet, easyBus … let’s give this status-quo-shattering serial entrepreneur a chance to create easyRoads and easyTrains, too.

Treasury secretary: Sir Howard Stringer

Born in Wales. He fought for the US in Vietnam. Now runs one of Japan’s biggest companies. In an increasingly interconnected world, the chairman, president and CEO of Sony is uniquely positioned to help the UK Treasury to understand and respond to global macroeconomic trends.

Innovation minister: James Dyson

No one has done more to put British innovation on the global map in the 21st century. From manufacturing, via retail, to financial services, every UK sector could benefit from Dyson’s approach to turning fresh ideas into commercial phenomena.

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