Lord Bilimoria spoke to the BBC and Reuters on Wednesday 19th March 2014 as part of the media coverage of the 2014 United Kingdom Budget. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, made a number of decisions on pensions, manufacturing exports and duty that Lord Bilimoria, the Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, felt would make a positive contribution to the future of the British economy.
In the run-up to the Chancellor’s statement at 12:30, Lord Bilimoria was interviewed by the BBC on College Green alongside Frances O’Grady, the General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress.
Following the Budget, Lord Bilimoria was interviewed by Reuters Business New, alongside Emma Jones and the IT entrepreneur, Stan Boland about the Chancellor’s announcements of a cut in Corporation Tax, a 1p fall in Beer Duty and the news that direct lending from government to UK businesses to promote exports is to be doubled to £3 billion.
For the first time since 2011, the House of Lords Team was victorious in the annual Pancake Day Race in Victoria Tower Gardens. The event, which celebrated its fourteenth anniversary on Tuesday, has become a fixture of the political calender. Taking place in in the shadow of the Palace of Westminster, the race sees three competing teams, representing the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Parliamentary Press Gallery, flipping away around a course in order to raise money for Rehab.
Lord Bilimoria was one of a number of peers to criticise various aspects of the government’s Immigration Bill, which had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on Monday. Speaking in opposition to the additional charges that would be forced upon new migrants to the United Kingdom, Lord Bilimoria noted the damaging effects that the Bill would have for universities and higher education in general, which could also have long-term repercussions for the British economy.
Lord Bilimoria participated in a major debate on Scottish independence, which was moved by the former Scottish Secretary, Lord Lang of Monkton. In his speech – Lord Bilimoria noted the tremendous benefits and potential that comes from the historic Union between England and Scotland, as well as the fiscal risks associated with the proposals for an independent Scotland to become part of the Stirling Zone;
Following on from David Cameron’s trade delegation to India in February 2013, Amarjit Singh, head of the India Business Group at Dutton Gregory Solicitors, interviewed Lord Bilimoria, about the follow up work taking place in the UK and in India. In the two videos below, Lord Bilimoria speaks about the best way to promote Anglo-Indian trade and business links – as well as advising UK small and medium-sized enterprises about the benefits deciding the enter the Indian market.
On the 27th December, Lord Bilimoria gave the opening keynote address to the World Zoroastrian Congress – held in Mumbai, India.
Under the title, “The Everlasting Flame of Zoroastrian Identity: An Unbroken Thread of Achievement from Cyrus the Great to Today,” Lord Bilimoria set out a narrative of Zoroastrianism in world history, ranging from the achievements of the largest of the ancient empires – which at its peak included for virtually half of the world’s population at the time – to today, one of the world’s smallest communities. Lord Bilimoria noted that from the Achaemenid Empire, to the British Raj, to modern India – Zoroastrians have been at the forefront of virtually every field they have put their hand to, wherever they have settled.
Lord Bilimoria gave a speech to the Oxford Union on Monday evening, having been invited to speak by the Union’s President, Parit Wacharasindhu. The Oxford Union is one of the most prestigious organisations in the world and hosts hundreds of speakers from the world of politics, business, activism and academia every year.
In a wide-ranging discussion – Lord Bilimoria talked about his formative years at university in India and the United Kingdom, noting where he first gain the inspiration for Cobra Beer when he was first introduced to Real Ale, before going on to describe his experiences in establishing the company from scratch. When the first batch of Cobra Beer was brewed in India, Lord Bilimoria noted that he had even had to borrow money from the owner of the brewery in order to purchase his inaugural pint!
Lord Bilimoria also outlined him main tenants for ensuring the success of Cobra Beer, even during times of adversity. He especially noted how the presence of a strong team and a supportive family had given him strength during difficult times. Taking the view that “good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement” – Lord Bilimoria also explained how even in times of crisis, the business had emerged all the stronger from it.
In concluding, Lord Bilimoria also cited his views on political matters, particularly regarding defence, immigration and House of Lords reform. He said that, despite cuts to the Royal Navy, Britain still had much to give to the world, especially in terms of engineering and design.
Following this – the President of the Oxford Union then fielded a number of questions from the audience, before those present decamped to the Union’s Gladstone Room, where further discussion took place over numerous bottles of Cobra Beer.
At the end of the evening, Lord Bilimoria was shown the Oxford Union’s famous debating chamber. As a former Vice-Chair of the Cambridge Union, he was pleased to have the chance to see the building under less strenuous circumstances than the last time he had visited!
My Lords, Sir Bob Worcester, the chairman of the Magna Carta 800th anniversary commemoration committee, in a recent speech, summed it up really well—foundation of human rights, father of all constitutions, basis of our civil liberties, rights of free men and now women and of legal tradition, the bedrock of our systems of democracy. Then he says, “Who are its guardians?” He says it is our system of rule of law, jurisprudence, of justice. I say the guardian of this nation is this wonderful, unelected House, which is the cornerstone of our democracy.