Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cash for contracts: all shall have prizes

Why give money to a political party? Because you think it has the best vision for how to run the country and you want to help it win an election? Or because you want to cosy up to it in the hope of some sort of payback?

One obvious sign that it’s thinly disguised lobbying is when a donor supports more than one party at the same time.

Britain's top accountancy firms are channelling resources and staff worth hundreds of thousands of pounds into the Conservative Party ahead of an anticipated Tory government after the general election.

The firms involved already hold government contracts worth millions of pounds between them. More consultancy contracts would be on offer for auditors and consultants as the party would be forced to grapple with making vast savings across the public sector should it form the next government.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats also receive donations and services from auditors. However, there are signs that some firms have shifted their funding significantly in recent years. While the Tories have received £106,103 from KPMG since the start of 2008, it received just under £45,000 from the company in 2002-03. Meanwhile, donations from the firm to Labour have fallen from £90,000 in 2002-03 to £61,000 since the start of 2008.
…the Liberal Democrats also benefit from donations-in-kind from auditors, including more than £300,000 from KPMG since 2002.

As they keep doing it, year after year, these companies are clearly confident that their phoney donations are buying them influence.

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