Ultimo lingerie founder Michelle Mone made Cameron's entrepreneurship tsar

Businesswoman, who is tipped for a peerage, will encourage disadvantaged people in areas of high unemployment to start companies, DWP says

David Cameron has appointed the founder of the lingerie brand Ultimo as the government’s new entrepreneurship tsar for areas of high unemployment.

Michelle Mone – tipped to be on the list of new peers, expected to be revealed later this month – will lead a review of obstacles faced by people in disadvantaged areas when it comes to setting up their own businesses.

The Department for Work and Pensions said Mone, from Glasgow, would look at how to encourage benefit claimants, women, young people, disabled people and ex-offenders to become entrepreneurs. The former model, who left school at 15, founded Ultimo in her 20s and sold an 80% stake in the firm last year.

She came out against Scottish independence during the referendum campaign, and in the runup to the general election said: “I’ve always been Labour through and through. But I think the Conservatives did inherit a really bad business five years ago, and I think they’ve done a hell of a good job.”

The Scottish National party has criticised the suggestion that she will be made a peer as “beyond absurd and ridiculous”, alleging it was a reward for her support.

Announcing the appointment, Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said: “Entrepreneurship can play an important role in supporting economic growth and creating jobs in our most disadvantaged communities. However, people living in those areas face a range of additional barriers they need to overcome in starting and growing businesses.

“I am delighted Michelle has agreed to lead this review. There’s no one I can think of that’s better qualified to help young entrepreneurs from deprived backgrounds to turn a good idea into a flourishing business. We used to be known as a nation of shopkeepers. I want Michelle to report back to me on how we can encourage people of all backgrounds to take up this entrepreneurial spirit.”

Mone said her philosophy was that “it does not matter where you are from, what education you have, or if you are from an affluent background or not, you can make it if you work hard, set your goals and never give up”.

The list of new peers has been expected since parliament broke up for recess but it is understood it will not be published until next week at the earliest.


Rowena Mason Political correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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