UK financial sector donates large sum to political parties

People walk along the bank of the River Thames outside the City of London’s financial district in London, Britain, May 18, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

UK banks, insurers and lobbyists have donated 15 million pounds ($18.75 million) to political parties and given more than 2 million pounds to lawmakers during the pandemic, highlighting “the outsized influence” of the financial sector on the British political system, a campaign group has declared.

A study by London-based Positive Money found that financial firms and individuals linked to the sector held a “disproportionate” number of meetings with the UK government’s Treasury Department in 2020 and 2021.

The group’s report says this has led to supportive policies, such as deregulation, and an economy “structurally dependent” on the financial sector.

He noted that the main recipient of donations during this period was the Conservative Party, which recorded more than £11million, or 76% of these funds.

“Once the extent of big finance’s influence over government is laid bare, it becomes clear that the banks are getting bailouts and tax cuts, while the rest of us are benefiting from austerity and tax increases,” said David Barmes, senior economist at Positive Money.

The Guardian newspaper reported that the group’s study found that 47 Members of Parliament had received £2.3million in financial sector fees between January 2020 and December 2021, and that more than half of that sum had gone to only five Conservative politicians.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May was reportedly paid £200,000 for speeches at events organized by JP Morgan and Amundi Asset Management.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid was paid £175,000 for speeches and for his role as senior adviser to JP Morgan.

Positive Money has raised concerns about possible conflicts of interest between UK politics and the financial sector.

“Access to public institutions is not just the exceptional case of a few bad apples bending the rules – like the lobbying of (former Prime Minister) David Cameron on behalf of…Greensill Capital – but represents a systemic problem much more wide,” the band said. .

Political parties in the UK are required to report their quarterly donations and loans to the country’s Electoral Commission, giving voters important information about how parties are funded.

The Electoral Commission is an independent body that oversees elections and regulates political funding in the UK, which it said it does by “taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and prosecute breaches”.

The Guardian quoted a statement from the Treasury, which is the department responsible for the financial services sector, which said it was “just right for ministers and civil servants to meet regularly with industry representatives, as is the standard with political engagement,” adding “there is a clear policy in place on the declaration and management of interests for those working in government, with measures taken to avoid any conflict of interest.”

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