Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: Tories 'right party', says Iceland boss

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Media captionMalcolm Walker credits the Conservatives for a 'fantastic recovery'

The boss of Wales' largest company has backed the Conservatives - but admits many of his staff and customers will disagree.

Iceland chief Malcolm Walker said they were "the right party for the country", as Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb visited the food firm's Flintshire HQ.

Mr Walker stressed it was a "personal opinion, not a company opinion".

"Lots of our customers will support the other side; lots of our staff in this office do," he said.

'Happy staff'

Speaking to BBC Wales on Friday, the food stores boss said: "We have seen a fantastic recovery and people have short memories about the state of the country five years ago."

He said both he and Iceland paid all their taxes in full, and the firm had never used zero-hours contracts - which the Labour party has pledged to scrap.

"I don't see the point of them," Mr Walker said of zero-hours contracts.

"In the last three years we've been voted the best company in Britain to work for, and having happy staff makes happy customers, and happy customers put cash in the tills.

"You are not going to have happy staff if you are unsure about next week's pay packet."

Image caption Malcolm Walker welcomes Stephen Crabb to Iceland HQ on Deeside

Mr Walker, a Conservative Party donor, was one of 100 business leaders who signed an open letter earlier in April backing Tory economic policies.

'Lurching to extremes'

Labour's Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said it was "no surprise" the Conservative Party's "big business donors" wanted to back "the party of big business".

"It's a straight choice at this election between the Tories, the party of the business bosses, and Labour, on the side of hard-working people, pledged to raise the minimum wage, end zero-hours contracts, and scrap the bedroom tax," he said.

"Britain does better when working people do better."

Policy guide: Economy

This issue includes the wider economy and deficit reduction but also employment and the role of business.

The Liberal Democrats insisted their "balanced approach" in coalition with the Conservatives had ensured "record numbers of people in work and an economy that is growing by the day".

"We are the only party that can stop Labour and the Tories lurching to extremes and ensure we continue to build a stronger economy and fairer society with opportunity for all," a Welsh Lib Dem spokesman said.

Plaid Cymru candidate Osian Lewis said: "What Wales cannot risk is another five years of slashing investment.

"17,000 of the jobs created in Wales since 2010 have been part-time and until we increase people's wages and increase people's disposable income, our economy will continue to be skewed towards London."

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