City spent £93m lobbying Government last year

 

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The sheer expense and manpower of the City's lobbying operation targeted at Government and regulators was exposed last night by an investigation showing £92.8m was spent by the financial sector last year, achieving several controversial policy coups for the industry.

The findings by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) showed that 129 organisations are involved in lobbying for banks and other financial institutions, employing at least 800 people working in law firms, consultancies, industry bodies and the banks themselves.

Among the significant developments credited to this campaign were the cutting of the UK's corporation tax in Britain and duties on banks' overseas divisions, which TBIJ claim will save the sector – and deprive the Treasury – of billions of pounds.

The investigation also pointed to the "neutering of a national not-for-profit pension scheme launching in October that was supposed to benefit millions of low-paid and temporary workers" and the "killing of Government plans for a new corporate super-watchdog to police quoted companies".

The City of London Corporation, which makes no effort to disguise its trumpeting of financial interests, was implicated together with the British Bankers' Association and the Association of British Insurers.

The Business Secretary Vince Cable said of the revelations: "I do worry that Britain's financial sector, particularly the banks – as opposed to more successful and less problematic financial services like insurance – are too dominant and too easily assumed to represent the national interest."

He added: "We need smaller banks and more competitive banking focused on supplying credit to British business. Yet there has been strong resistance to bank reform."

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