The Capitalist was delighted to receive a call from David Cameron yesterday afternoon, arguing in favour of renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the EU and, er, the removal of VAT on hot sandwiches.
Cameron – the owner of a Subway fast food franchise in Dewsbury, Yorkshire – was delivering a 150,000-strong petition to his namesake at Downing Street, calling for a tax cut on warmed sandwiches so Subway can compete with pasty suppliers.
“With the pasty tax U-turn they reintroduced a loophole, which we felt gave bakeries a tax break,” Cameron said. “It’s unfair.”
And he also gave his backing to a new deal with the EU: “We’re happy to be a trading partner with the EU. But personally, I have concerns over the euro crisis and currency fluctuations pushing up the price of our food.”
■ SEEMS the long standing mistrust between some parts of the private equity industry and the press has hit a new low. Journalists paying a visit to a conference at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square yesterday were greeted with a conference agenda spliced with draconian red warnings about the events they were banned from attending. Speakers from mega private equity shops including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and CVC Capital – never ones to be known for their vulnerability – were kept a safe distance from newshounds, who were barred from a total of eight events out of 13. Of particular note was the aversion of US private equity shop Silver Lake, currently in talks to buy out computer giant Dell, to be seen or heard by reporters. They were listed on a panel with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s biggest investors in private equity funds – a talk hacks were barred from entering (The ever-so-subtle bright yellow press badges probably gave the game away) Speakers who were happy to allow the press into their talks included Silicon Valley Bank, Dechert LLP, Greenoaks Capital Management and Advent, among others. The splattering of “NO PRESS” notices plastered across the agenda may have given comfort to the fretful giants of private equity – but probably not the 24 media partners backing the conference.