Big firms cut back donations to Tories

Large companies are increasingly refusing to donate money to the Conservative Party but the shortfall is being made up by smaller firms whose donations are not so open to public scrutiny.

A survey of 5,000 large companies by Labour Research (LRD), a trade union-funded organisation, shows that only 133 of these companies gave to the Tories in the year ending 31 March 1996, compared with 194 in the previous year. The drop in cash from such companies - pounds 2.82m to pounds 2.55m - was compensated for by companies that remained loyal digging deeper into their pockets in anticipation of the general election.

The desertions include a number of well-known names, such as United Biscuits, Rolls Royce, Wimpey, Smiths Industries and Barings, most of whom gave up soon after the 1992 election and have not returned to the fold. One big recent withdrawal is the builder JJ Gallagher, which was the second highest donor traced in the 1995 survey, having given pounds 114,016.

While most companies refuse to give reasons for their withdrawal of support, Clare Ruhemann, editor of Labour Research magazine, said that some had stopped giving because of boardroom rows over political affiliations, and others cited specific reasons such as growing globalisation of the firm, which made it inappropriate to give to particular political party in one country.

Ms Ruhemann said: "Few companies cite disenchantment with government policies, but clearly with such a large number of major firms no longer donating there is a growing reluctance to become associated with a party that looks like losing the election."

Racal and Vodafone, bothchaired by Sir Ernest Harrison, are the only past donors to have returned to the fold, giving pounds 75,000, and a third company he chairs, Chubb, became a first-time donor with the same sum. The top donor was a Yorkshire-property group, Paul Sykes, with pounds 214,891, followed by Wittington Investments with pounds 200,000, and pounds 100,000 from Hanson, P&O and Trailfinders, which increased its donation from pounds 1,000.

Analysis of Tory party funding by LRD shows that the party raised pounds 18.82m in donations in 1995-96, its best showing ever in a non-election year. LRD says: "This suggests its donations are coming from rich individuals and private companies, rather than from large companies." Smaller companies are thought to donate around pounds 2.2m.

Company donations to the Labour Party uncovered by LRD are at a record high, having increased from pounds 81,000 in 1994/95 to pounds 268,096 last year, just over 10 per cent of the Tories' total. The largest donation came from Political-Animal Lobby with pounds 125,000, and the other seven corporate donors include Caparo Group with pounds 47,000, GLC (financial services) with pounds 30,000, and the media group Pearson, which matched its donation of pounds 25,000 to the Tories.

9 Labour Research: December 1996; LRD; 78 Blackfriars Road, London SE21 8HF; pounds 2,60.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent