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Tories heavily reliant on donations from hedge funds and bankers, new analysis shows

Labour, which takes most its funding from trade unions, criticised the donations

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Saturday 03 June 2017 20:44 BST
The finance sector, property magnates and fossil fuel companies have funded the Conservatives
The finance sector, property magnates and fossil fuel companies have funded the Conservatives (Getty)

The Conservative party is heavily reliant on large cash donations from hedge funds, bankers, and magnates to fund its campaigns, according to a new analysis of the party’s finances.

Since the 2015 general election 18.6 per cent of all donations to the party – totalling £8.4m – have come from hedge funds or people associated, while 6.5 per cent or £2.9m have come from investment bankers and the finance sector in general.

Another 7.9 per cent of the party’s funding or £3.6m comes from property magnates, with a further chunk coming from fossil fuel companies.

The Conservatives say all the donations “comply full with the law” and were transparently published – but Labour said the figures show the party is “dependent” on tycoons and would stand up for them in government.

The analysis comes after Electoral Commission figures show the Tories raised ten times as much money as Labour from large donations over £7,500 in the most recent reporting campaign period.

The party took £3,772,550 in donations over £7,500 between 17 May and 23 May while Labour, the next largest donee, raised £331,499.

Since the 2015 general election the biggest hedge fund donor to the Conservatives has been Alexander Fraser, who gave the party £1,137,400 in that period. The former Barings Bank head of brokerage was elevated to the House of Lords for life by David Cameron in his resignation honours.

Swiss-born banker Henry Angest, who was knighted by David Cameron, gave £654,000. He is CEO of Arbuthnot Banking Group, which offers investment management services.

The Conservatives have raised large amounts of money this general election (Reuters)

Labour takes most of its large donations from trade unions. The party also says it has raised large amounts of money from small donations averaging about £20, though smaller donations under £500 are not registered with the Electoral Commission.

Jon Trickett, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said: “These latest revelations show that under Theresa May’s leadership, the Tories are as dependent as ever on finance and industry magnates to fund their campaign.

“It’s no surprise that over the last seven years the Tories have chosen to look after a privileged few, giving their super-rich friends tax breaks of tens of billions of pounds, while life has got harder for the many.”

“Working people deserve better than Tory failure – only a Labour Government will stand up for you and your families,” he said.

Defense Minister Sir Michael Fallon today pledged that the party would not raise income taxes for the wealthy.

A Conservative spokesperson said: “All donations to the Conservative party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law.”

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