“I’m not a politician but a bit of common sense needs to be used at times… I think I could do a better job than this guy for businesses.” Pimlico Plumbers’ Charlie Mullins revealed his plans to run for London mayor on the Capital Conversation, which aired last night on London Live.
The plumber-turned businessman was the latest guest to join Michael Hayman on the business show. Mullins criticised the mayor’s decision to introduce the ‘T-Charge’ – a fixed cost for vehicles driving in central London that fail to meet minimum Euro emission standards – and said it’s ‘too early’ to say if Khan is a good mayor for the city.
Mullins launched the plumbing business in 1979 out of an estate agent’s flat and has since grown the firm to a flush £40m annual turnover. Along the way, he has become the go-to-handyman for London’s rich and famous and his fleet of blue vans, each sporting a plumbing-related plate, are synonymous with the city’s streets.
The entrepreneur-in-waiting left school at 15 to pursue plumbing. His determination to kickstart his career early makes him an avid supporter of apprenticeships. “Without apprenticeships there’d be no future for Pimlico Plumbers or many other businesses. We have 50 apprentices on board and we’re taking on more. I’ve been working closely with the government getting more and more youngsters into apprenticeships.”
Mullins’ campaigning attitude has seen him take a stand in other areas, chief among them, Brexit. He was one of London’s most outspoken Remainers. “Unfortunately, a lot of businesses were misled,” he says, reflecting on the campaign – later adding that Brexit’s effect on the UK economy will be “undoubtedly bad.”
Backed by a highly successful business career and a rising profile that could lead him to City Hall, what advice would he give the 15-year-old Charlie Mullins intent on quitting education? Simple, “Leave school at 14.”
You can watch the full episode here.
Read more in the Sunday Times here.