Video: Andrew Neil at Variety Club Business Awards

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ANDREW Neil urged politicians to “start arguing about things that matter” like proper energy, education and aviation policies to help Britain compete in the 21st century.

The publisher, journalist and broadcaster was the headline speaker at Variety’s Yorkshire Business Awards.

Guest speaker Andrew Neil addresses the lunch.

Guest speaker Andrew Neil addresses the lunch.

Angela Rippon OBE, the doyenne of British broadcasting, presented the event, which was attended by the great and the good of the Yorkshire business community.

Bobbie Caplin OBE, the veteran Leeds businessman and long-time Variety supporter, said yesterday’s event raised £121,500 to help disadvantaged children in Yorkshire.

The annual lunch has raised more than £3m for Variety over the last quarter century.

Ms Rippon told the 425-strong audience: “Here in Yorkshire you have a wonderful record of raising money for that charity. They can’t do what they do without you doing what you do.”

Keith Andrews, Chief Barker at Variety, told the Yorkshire Post that Yorkshire is Variety’s most successful region.

“You have such a supportive community,” he added.

Mr Andrews said the region’s efforts paid for 16 out of 65 Sunshine coaches this year.

Ian Leach, chairman of the Variety committee in Yorkshire, told the audience: “It’s important that you know that your money reaches these children.”

The annual event honours business success stories in Yorkshire.

Dr Assem Allam, managing director of Allam Marine and owner of Hull City AFC, was named Business Leader of the Year in recognition of his business achievements and community work.

R&R Ice Cream, the Northallerton-based food manufacturer, won the Board of the Year title. The private-equity owned business is Europe’s largest own-label ice cream manufacturer and competes against Unilever.

Pavers, the York-based shoe retailer, was named SME of the Year in recognition of its pioneering achievements in emerging markets.

The company, founded by Catherine Paver in 1971, is the first foreign retailer to be allowed to set up wholly owned stores in India.