James Caan threatens to de-rail Clegg's social mobility drive

THe deputy PM's drive to help underprivileged get a fairer start has been almost totally eclipsed by the former Dragon's Den star who has been accused of hypocrisy over his own family and companies.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 17 Oct 2013

Getting self-made millionaire James Caan on board for Nick Clegg's social mobility drive was, on the face of it, a good move from the deputy prime minister. But now it looks like it may have come off the rails, after Caan was outed for employing his own daughter immediately after she left university.

Having told the Telegraph on Tuesday that parents should not help their kids find work until the situation becomes really desperate, mere hours later it was revealed that his own daughter has been employed in at least three different roles in his organisations.

But after a big Twitter backlash criticising him, Caan later attempted to backtrack, saying: 'We treat [family and friends] the same as anyone. You can write in to us, send in your CV and we would have a look at it, to evaluate if there is any space over the period.'

His original sermon went something like: ‘You are trying to develop your child tool you don’t want them to feel as though they don’t want to have to make an effort.’ But behind closed doors, Hanah Caan went straight from university into Caan’s private equity company, Hamilton Bradshaw, as an adviser back in 2009.

In 2010, she then became a trustee at the James Caan Foundation (a charity aimed at alleviating poverty in Pakistan – from where he also tried to adopt a baby a few years back); and then last year, she became an adviser to the government’s Start-Up Loans Company initiative – which her father chairs.

To say that the episode has drawn attention away from the deputy PM's initiative would be an understatement. Of course, Clegg himself was the beneficiary of an internship at a Finnish bank (courtesy of his father).

What a mess, eh?

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