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United Kingdom: Labor seduces the wealthy again

United Kingdom: Labor seduces the wealthy again

Posted on December 27, 2023 at 4:26 pmUpdated on December 27, 2023 at 5:09 pm

Labor is generating even more excitement in business circles as the 2024 assembly elections approach. Source: Conference organized in 1R Next February, the party has invited several business representatives. “One day at 7am the date was announced. By 9am, all the tickets were sold,” said a public affairs manager at a major US bank.

The incident illustrates the extent of Labour's links with “business”, which the Left wants to lead if it wins the 2024 election. This closeness is also seen in the funds collected by the party. Since current leader Keir Starmer has refocused on politics, individual donations and corporate donations have largely replaced union contributions (GMP, Union etc.).

12 million in individual donations

In the first nine months of 2023, families donated more than £12m to Labour, six times more than in the whole of 2022. Between 2022 and 2023, the average amount of donations per capita increased from 27,000 to more than 56,000 pounds, a sign that large donors carry more weight.

Among them is David Sainsbury, scion of the eponymous department store's founding family, who is donating £2m in 2022 and £3m in 2023. David Sainsbury withdrew his support after Labour's defeat in 2010, then returned in 2020 with the inauguration of Keir Starmer. Carglass' former boss Gary Luebner also stood out with a $2.2 million donation.

Same thing with businesses. In just nine months, they have donated more than £1.3m in 2023, doubling their contributions for the whole of 2022.

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A symbol

The change is symbolic for a party historically founded by trade unions to be represented in the British Parliament. “We've already seen the same phenomenon under Tony Blair. Unions fell below 50% fundraising because at that time Labor was able to attract a lot of wealth among its donors,” says Justin Fisher, professor of political science at Brunel University.

Should we see a link between this influx of money from the private sector and the “pro-business” tax touted by Labor ahead of the next election? The “amazing catch” comes with a commitment by Finance Minister Rachel Reeves to 'not introduce a wealth tax' at the same time as the massive nationalization promoted by the party's former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is abandoned.

However, researchers say they are skeptical about the direct impact these donations could have on programs. Judges Mirko Draga of the University of Warwick said, “Most of the time, influence comes more through lobbying.

This subject is relatively little discussed in public opinion. In the 1990s Tony Blair wanted to exempt Formula 1 from a tobacco advertising ban when confederation boss Bernie Ecclestone donated £1m. Since then, a law passed in 2000 requires political parties to declare all donations over £7,500.