It was reveled this morning that more than half of Tory funds come from the City - double the proportion it was when David Cameron became leader, reports Shamik Das.
It was reveled this morning that more than half of Tory funds come from the City – double the proportion it was when David Cameron became leader. Research by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that £11.4 million of the Conservative party’s £22.5m total cash donations last year came from the financial services industry – 50.79 per cent; this compares to £2.75m out of £11.1m (24.67%) when Mr Cameron became Tory leader.
So who are these rich men pumping millions into the Tory party? And why are they doing it? Looking at the kid-glove approach of Messieurs Osborne and Cameron to the City, from the limp banking levy to their failure to take action on bonuses, coupled with the revelation last week that, in opposition, they were encouraging the Labour government to deregulate further, the latter may be obvious.
The BIJ names the ten biggest donors as:
1. David Rowland – (Financier, £4,031,016);
2. Michael Farmer (Hedge Fund) – £2,973,850;
3. Stanley Fink (Hedge Fund) – £1,945,141;
4. Michael Hintze (Hedge Fund) – £1,235,000;
5. Paul Adrian Beecroft (Private Equity) – £537,076;
6. James Lyle (Hedge Fund) – £500,000;
7. Jonathan Wood (Hedge Fund) – £500,000;
8. Peter J Hall (Investment Fund) – £493,540;
9. George M Magan (Banker & Investment Fund) – £485,000;
10. Paul Ruddock (Hedge Fund) – £465,000.
To regular readers of Left Foot Forward, many of these names will be familiar. Last August, we looked at the case of David Rowland, a multi-millionaire tax exile, who was being lined up to succeed Tory Tax dodger Lord Ashcroft as party Treasurer.
Ben Fox reported:
“Rowland, who is estimated to be worth £730 million, had lived in tax-haven Guernsey, but returned to the UK for the past year so he could legally make donations of £2.7m to the Tory party in the run up to this year’s election…
“No doubt when he returns from his ‘austerity’ holiday, David Cameron will be at pains to remind Britons that ‘we’re all in this together’. But the Tories’ obsession with appointing tax avoiders to high-profile positions exposes the hollowness of Cameron’s lofty words.”
And of the litany of hedge fund managers lining Tory coffers, their dispute with the Financial Services Authority and Osborne’s battle to block hedge fund regulation, Claire French reported in September:
“Hedge fund managers and prominent donors to the Conservative party have also been at loggerheads with the FSA, among them Jon Wood, who donated £500,000 to the Party and is undertaking legal action against the FSA, according to the Daily Mail…
“Another hedge fund tycoon, Stanley Fink, was made co-treasurer of the Conservative Party having raised and donated considerable amounts of money for the party. Earlier this year, Left Foot Forward reported that Conservative Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) had voted against acting on the Domenici report on ‘Promoting Good Governance in Tax Matters 2009/2174(INI)’.
“Earlier this summer, Sir Philip Green was appointed as an ‘efficiency tsar’ by the Chancellor to help find savings. As Left Foot Forward’s Will Straw has pointed out, Sir Philip saved himself £300 million by partly moving to Monaco. Tax-exile Lord Laidlaw donated £100,000 to the party since announcing a ‘leave of absence’ whilst changing his tax status from nom-dom to British taxpayer. Before his change of heart, he had already donated an amount thought to be in the region of £4 million since 2005…
“And then there is Lord Ashcroft, who has reportedly donated £5.1 million to the party whilst registered in Belize. Earlier this year he revealed his nom-dom status…
“Each of these cases shows the potential of big money to exert influence on senior figures in the Conservative Party. None of these donations are illegal, but questions will be raised over why people with such vested interests are handing over huge sums of money, and in the having seen Conservative MEPs vote against a clamp down on tax dodgers and Mr Osborne’s fight to block European regulation of hedge funds, one must ask: cui bono?”
In the words of the prime minister himself:
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“My father was a stockbroker, my grandfather was a stockbroker, my great-grandfather was a stockbroker… The City is in my blood.”