Parties are failing needs of business

John Foster,MD of Fosters Bakery,Mapplewell
John Foster,MD of Fosters Bakery,Mapplewell
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John Foster is managing director of Fosters Bakery in Mapplewell, Barnsley, which employs 205 people and turns over £10million-a-year:

My political view is slightly left of centre, personally. But I don’t really think any political party understands business at all. There are too many career politicians.

How many have had a hard business upbringing where they have faced the issues that they are making decision about?

I’m a committed European. We sell about six per cent of our products there and that’s increasing. It means that shipping to France, Ireland and Italy is no more difficult than shipping to Wales. We sell less than one per cent to the rest of the world - Middle East and Hong Kong, where our mince pies are popular.

There is a lot of red tape whenever we ship a container anywhere.

Health and safety certificates and an inspection by an environmental health officer.

Taxes don’t really concern me, no matter who is in power they are going to get got. They just get you in different ways.

A year ago I had a heart attack and I was jolly glad the NHS was there to save my life.

Whenever anyone mentions tax loopholes that I could legally take advantage of I refuse. I will not deprive the NHS of funds in case it isn’t there next time.

You’ve got to look after the collective. I’m part of the workforce, that’s why I’m left of centre.

But whatever party is in, business is actually about your customers, products and suppliers. The difference between parties is miniscule.

The food industry has probably had more EU regulation that any other.

But if it didn’t come from Europe it would come from Westminster.

I have asked overseas customers why they buy food from Britain and they say, ‘because it is safe’. So actually it’s a positive. It’s been a pain getting to this stage but now we trounce the world.

A US company sent us some ingredients for one of their products. But we couldn’t use them because they weren’t safe enough, some stuff was actually banned for being carcinogenic. I don’t want to eat food that gives me that thank you. I’d rather have the EU food agency.

That’s not to say I like all regulation, some really pains me. Vicarious liability is one - I’m liable for employees even if they don’t follow my instructions. I’d vote for any political party that brought back common sense and got rid of the litigation culture.

If you slip, pick your feet up next time. You have to look after people and make them safe but stop stupidness.

My car went into the bodyshop when I scratched the bumper and they sold my name to ambulance chasers who are badgering me.

They say they have £2,600 to send to me because I suffered an injury. I didn’t.

I’m not a member of the Labour party. I’ve been to local do’s just to see what’s happening, but I’ve also been to Lib Dem and Conservative events.

But I sit better with the Labour group. They seem to be a little bit more like me. I’m not saying the others aren’t caring or jolly decent. But I have met people from the right who have been heartless and that scares me.

If they’re screwing their staff they’ll do it to me.