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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: We are currently looking for a Geog...

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee