UK social mobility minister defends giving jobs to daughters after hypocrisy claims
James Caan, the UK Government's new social mobility tsar, today defended giving jobs to his daughters, saying it would have been wrong to have discriminated against them just because they were family.
The Dragons' Den star faced accusations of hypocrisy after it emerged he employed the two, despite arguing that parents should not give their children a helping hand but allow them to carve out their own careers.
Yesterday on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Caan said it was not good to create a society "where people get jobs based on who you know rather than what you can do".
Appearing today on the same programme Mr Caan insisted his daughters Jemma and Hanah were employed through a "normal process" of recruitment and were qualified for the jobs they were given.
"When they were in a position to look at opportunities it is about applying through a normal channel, a normal process," he said.
"You should not discriminate against family or friends. Just because they are family or friends does not mean they are not qualified to do the job."
Mr Caan said his older daughter Jemma worked for four years with other firms before going to work for one of his organisations, but he acknowledged that Hanah did a series of internships in his organisations before being given a job.
He rejected suggestions that he was the wrong person to be the Government's social mobility tsar.
"I have been doing recruitment for 30 years and have built up a number of substantial organisations - we employ nearly 800 people. I do have experience, I do know what I am talking about," he said.
Mr Caan is due to make his first official appearance in his new role today alongside Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to promote the Government's Opening Doors campaign.
More than 150 major organisations in the UK have committed to offering fair and open access to their jobs and professions for young people, regardless of background.
Mr Clegg said: "We have a big problem in this country. Every year employers are closing their doors to talented young people. This is a terrible waste of talent and potential that could be otherwise boosting our economy and driving growth in our businesses."