Top Tory funder runs high-cost loans company

Conservative party grandee controls firm which charges interest at 75 per cent APR

A top Conservative Party funder is revealed today as the man behind one of Britain’s biggest high-cost lenders.

Financier Henry Angest – a friend of the Camerons and a former Tory Treasurer – gave the Conservatives a £5m overdraft facility shortly before the last General Election at an attractive interest rate of just 3.5 per cent.

The high-cost credit company Mr Angest controls, Everyday Loans, charges members of the public interest at an average 74.8 per cent APR.

The news – uncovered following analysis of accounts by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism – will prove awkward for the Conservatives, as Mr Angest becomes the second high-profile Tory donor profiting from the growing high-cost credit industry.

The Conservative donor and government adviser Adrian Beecroft has a major stake in Wonga, Britain’s best-known payday lender, which charges borrowers more than 4,000 per cent APR.

Mr Beecroft has given almost £800,000 to the Tories in the last seven years, contributing more than £100,000 last December.

Last October, Jonathan Luff, a senior adviser to David Cameron, quit Downing Street to become a lobbyist for Wonga.

The Government claimed earlier this year to be cracking down on high-interest lenders.

The Treasury and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced a range of measures in March which it said would ensure a fairer deal for consumers. Meanwhile, the Office of Fair Trading has threatened to refer the payday lending sector to the Competition Commission.

The involvement of Conservative grandees in the high-cost lending industry is awkward for the Prime Minister, who has invited Mr Angest to private dinners with his wife Samantha at Chequers and Downing Street.

The Swiss-born millionaire is chairman and chief executive of Arbuthnot Banking, which last year bought Everyday Loans, which has a head office in Solihull and 31 branches in places such as Bradford, Croydon, Liverpool and Stoke.

A spokesman for the bank was quick to distance the firm from payday lenders. “Everyday Loans provides loans to customers who are underserved by the high street banks,” he said. “If Everyday Loans did not provide this service, those looking for loans would have to approach payday loan companies, pawnbrokers or home collected credit companies where interest rates would be very much higher.”

Anyone borrowing £1,000 over a year from the firm could be forced to pay around 15 times the amount someone could be charged at a mainstream lender, where interest rates have dropped to as little as 5 per cent in recent weeks.

The high-cost credit sector has exploded in recent years as struggling families have been forced into debt to cope with soaring bills and rising unemployment.

That has led to major investment from many US-based lenders hoping to boost their profits from British consumers.

Analysis of 50 leading payday and high-cost credit firms by the Bureau revealed that the top firms boast profit margins of up to 49 per cent with revenues trebling in the last year at seven firms.

The high-cost lender with the biggest turnover is CashEuroNetUK, which owns the payday lender Quick Quid. Its turnover last year of £198m just beat Wonga’s turnover figures of £185m during the year.

Wonga’s turnover increased by 225 per cent over the year while Quick Quid’s owner saw its turnover soar 214 per cent. Mr Angest’s Everyday Loans is the 11th largest high-cost lender by turnover, according to the research, with revenues of £20m last year.

A spokesman from Arbuthnot Banking said: “We have not discussed the business of Everyday Loans Limited with either the Conservative Party, the current Government or civil servants.”

The facility provided to the Conservative Party by Arbuthnot Latham preceded the acquisition of Everyday Loans. Profits from Everyday Loans have not been provided to any political party.

Everyday Loans have told us that it considers customers’ affordability prospects and only lends in a responsible manner which is fundamentally different to the approach used by payday lenders. Interest rates reflect the risk involved in lending to individual borrowers and are typically 20 times less than payday lenders.

Henry Angest: Big spender who keeps a low profile

The Tory grandee behind one of Britain’s biggest high-cost lenders, Henry Angest, is estimated to earn £519,000 as chief executive of the exclusive private bank Arbuthnot. He is one of the Conservative Party’s largest financial backers, having channelled almost £7m to the Tories in loans and donations over the past decade.

Married to Dorothy, he is a publicity-shy, Swiss-born, respected City investment banker who is a former master of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers. His passion – apparently – is dendrology, the study of trees.

The Tories were forced to admit that he was one of several party donors who was invited to private dinners with David Cameron, despite the fact that Mr Angest was reported to have backed Michael Portillo’s Tory leadership campaign in 2001.

Arbuthnot Banking Group owns retail bank Secure Trust, which bought Everyday Loans last year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing