Philip Hammond took stake in company shortly before it received government grant

Documents show the Chancellor received a 15 per cent stake in a food tech company shortly before it received a government grant to help develop low fat foods

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Indy Politics

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond took a stake in a food technology business shortly before it received a government grant to develop low fat ready meals.

According to records at Companies House, Mr Hammond took a stake of 15 per cent in Hydramach, a food tech company based in Cambridgeshire, in October 2015 when he was still Foreign Secretary. In April 2016, the company received a share of a £560,000 grant from Innovate UK, a tech start up agency of the then Business department.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the grant was to develop low fat and low sugar soups, ready meals and sauces. Mr Hammond was appointed Chancellor by new Prime Minister Theresa May in July.

Hydramach has not yet received any monies, and has even withdrawn from the project, which was to produce “reduced fat and salt in soups, sauces and ready meals by utilisation of novel procedures to create novel micro-structures” and was part of a government initiative on public health.

Mr Hammond did not declare it in the register of members in interests.

A director of Hydramach told The Daily Telegraph: “Hydramach withdrew from the proposed consortium and declined to enter into the agreement with Innovate UK and therefore Hydramach has not received nor will receive or benefit in any way from any grant paid to the other members of the consortium."

A spokesman for Mr Hammond said: “The shareholding has been fully declared to the Director General for Propriety and Ethics [Sue Gray] at the Cabinet Office and the independent adviser on Ministers' interests [Alex Allan] who were content with the arrangements”.

He added: “Hydramach initially joined the consortium, but later withdrew its participation and did not bid for, or receive any research funding. Mr Hammond does not have any day to day involvement in the company.”

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