Small firms swell party coffers

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The Independent Online
British businesses are flocking back to the Conservative Party with financial support to help build up its war chest ahead of the general election.

Last year was a record for corporate donations, and there is no sign of any downturn in the near pounds 5m that was handed over then.

However, the Labour Research Department has detected a shift in the pattern of political donations, which has seen the majority of contributions coming from small and medium-sized businesses. This has has more than offset a fall- off among quoted companies - current LRD research shows just 60 plcs donating pounds 1.4m against 112 plcs donating pounds 2m a year ago.

The big increase in company donations from non-quoted companies is born out by the increase in their attendance at fund-raising dinners among the business community, which in some regions has trebled in the last year.