One of the UK’s richest illiterate men, holiday park tycoon Cresswell Welch, has described Rishi Sunak’s controversial plan to make every school pupil in the country study maths to the age of 18 as “the best thing in the world”. Despite not being able to read or write, Mr Welch, who is worth £60m, says the Prime Minister’s ambition to raise educational standards is “fantastic” and he backs his plan “one million per cent.”
The 59-year-old told Express.co.uk: “The best thing in the world is what he’s doing. I absolutely take my hat off to him. He is fantastic. He’s a good businessman, he knows education is very important.
“This country is one of the richest four or five countries in the world, we’re a very clever country. I don’t know if I’d have been more clever if I’d been able to read and write, maybe it would have taken more time up… I skipped the red tape.”
The former road surface worker continued: “Having said that I think the education is a very important thing for the young generation today. The world is that fast, it’s very important and I think Rishi Sunak is doing a fantastic job with what he’s doing.”
In his first speech of 2023, Mr Sunak said with the “right plan”, he sees “no reason” why the UK “cannot rival the best education systems in the world”.
“Just imagine what greater numeracy will unlock for – people the skills to feel confident with your finances, to find the best mortgage deal. The ability to do your job better and get paid more and greater self-confidence to navigate a changing world”, the PM said.
Mr Welch left school before the age of 13 to sell tea towels in his hometown of Darlington.
Mr Welch went “all round the world” working wiht road subcontractors he would put up in caravans. In spite of the riches he earned working for clients in “Brazil, Holland, Belgium, France, Australia and East Germany”, illiteracy was “embarrassing” for the tradesman.
“Not being able to read and write was a difficult thing, it was embarrassing. You’d have to say to someone ‘sorry my eyesight is not too well’ or ‘I haven’t got my glasses’. I’d have to get lots of people to do that work for me, to read the small print and things like that”, he added.
Beyond the embarrassment, the self-made man’s illiteracy also cost him money. “You get done for loads of money as you go through the field that I went through but in them days it was always about trust. Today, is there trust today? I don’t know.”
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In the absence of his basic education, the business mogul puts his commercial success down to his “memory” and “common sense”, something he thinks modern Britain may be lacking.
“Being honest with you… I think it all about common sense… I can sit down with my guys, I can jump on a lawnmower and cut the grass and speak to my workers on a level. But on the other hand, if I was talking to our King, I could speak to him on a level… I could give him a conversation. I can hold a conversation with anybody, but it’s all about common sense.”
Reiterating his support for the Prime Minister’s education reform, Mr Welch said: “If you get common sense with a good education, I don’t think anybody in this country can go far wrong.”
With his 60th birthday approaching in March, many would forgive a man of such personal wealth of taking an early retirement. But Mr Welch, who reveals he recently spent between almost £20,000 on a “really intense health check in Harley Street”, assures he is “here for the long term, not the short term.”
Far from slowing down, the businessman is keen to keep going for “the next twenty years to twenty-five years” and is planning to “expand and go a bit bigger”, with a significant £25m investment to grow his holiday park business “in the London area.”
*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.