Despite their tough rhetoric in opposition, the Tories have said little to suggest that they’re prepared to prevent another round of bumper bonuses for the bankers. George Osborne may have increased the coalition’s bank levy by £800m (an insignificant amount) but in 2009 he called for a ban on large bonuses in banks that had received any sort of government guarantee.
With this in mind, it’s worth noting the party’s increasing financial dependence on the City. New research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that donations from the Square Mile have doubled under David Cameron and now account for more than half of all Conservative funding. As the graph below shows, City donations rose from 24.67 per cent of donations in 2005 (£2.7m) to 50.79 per cent (£11.4m) in 2010.
Between them, the top ten City donors (see below) have given £13.6m to the Tories, accounting for 13 per cent of Central Office funding over the last five years. Two of the ten, Stanley Fink (who also serves as the party’s co-treasurer) and George Magan (the former Conservative treasurer), were awarded peerages in 2010.
The top ten City donors
David Rowland, financier £4,031,016
Michael Farmer, hedge fund £2,973,850
Stanley Fink, hedge fund £1,945,141
Michael Hintze, hedge fund £1,235,000
Paul Adrian Beecroft, private equity £537,076
James Lyle, hedge fund £500,000
Jonathan Wood, hedge fund £500,000
Peter J Hall, investment fund £493,540
George M Magan, banker & investment fund £485,000
Paul Ruddock, hedge fund £465,000
In total, 57 City figures donated more than £50,000 in the first nine months of 2010, a level of backing that entitles them to membership of the Leader’s Group. According to the Conservatives’ website, members of this group are given numerous opportunities to meet “David Cameron and other senior figures from the Conservative Party at dinners, post-PMQ lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches”.