News that the government says it will increase the levy on banks to £2.5 billion this year which will bring in an extra £800 million in tax, may well be a case of too little, too late. Chancellor George Osborne made much of this yesterday stating that the tax was being brought forward before banks announced their bonus payments.
Very nice, save for the fact that for the big ‘5’ banks 800 million is about one weeks profits. Oddly enough, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, more than half of donations to the Conservative Party last year came from the City of London. The report noted that firms and individuals donated £11.4m in 2010; this brought the total of City based donations since David Cameron became leader to more than £42m.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which is a not-for-profit organisation, examined records of donations held by the Electoral Commission and Companies House. It concluded that last year, City donations totalled 50.8% of all money given - up from around 25% in 2005, the year in which Mr Cameron became Tory leader.
The bureau said that 57 individuals from the finance sector gave more than £50,000 last year, entitling them to membership of the Conservative Leader's Club. Naturally the government has rejected suggestions that donors were influencing policy, unless of course you happen to be Lord Ashcroft.
Of course New (and Old) Labour leaders and Labour prime ministers have quite happily taken millions of pounds of funding on behalf of their party from trade unions, and they (the Trade Unionists) have also had any influence on Government policy (yet they keep on paying), just like the rest of us will keep on paying to bail out the banks.