Admiral boss criticises too much red tape
THE boss of one of Swansea's biggest employers claims small businesses leave Wales because of excessive red tape.
Insurance giant Admiral provides work for 1,940 people in Swansea's SA1 district and Swansea Vale.
The firm's chief executive, Henry Engelhardt, said Welsh workers are great, but the country has too many rules and regulations.
The Chicago-born millionaire is reported to have said: "They're often seen as being very petty, and people with small businesses in particular can't carry the burden."
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Mr Engelhardt shared his views for a BBC television programme about the state of the jobs market in Wales.
He said Wales was over-governed adding: "I think there's a lot of government — if you take the ratio of government per person, if the equivalent was true in the US, Congress would be about 6,000 people.
"Anyone can succeed (in the US) — there is that belief, that kind of American dream. I don't know if it's really true, but it's what people think.
"I'm not sure that's the way it is here — I'm not sure people aspire to that, much less believe they can achieve it."
Admiral's pre-tax profits rose by seven per cent to a total of £171.8 million in the first half of 2012 while turnover increased six per cent to £1.17 billion.
Mr Engelhardt said potential business start-ups would be encouraged by seeing others succeed, but urged those in power to avoid excessive regulation.
He said: "There are a lot of rules and things that come up."
Mr Engelhardt added that the volume of regulation may be a result of over-governing by Westminister, the Welsh Assembly and local councils.
The Admiral boss was originally planning to set up the company's headquarters in Brighton until the former Welsh Development Agency offered a £1million grant.
Admiral was launched in January 1993 with its headquarters in Cardiff.
Mr Engelhardt was interviewed for the BBC's Is Wales Working? programme, to be broadcast tomorrow at 10.25pm on BBC One Wales.