Britain’s finance industry spent 92.8 million pounds ($144 million) lobbying government officials in 2011, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
The City of London Corporation, which governs London’s oldest financial district, spent the most at 10.1 million pounds, the nonprofit organization said. Former City of London Policy Chairman Stuart Fraser had contact with U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and other Treasury ministers and officials 22 times in the 14 months to March, the bureau said.
It’s the first time the bureau has published an estimate into annual spending by the finance industry. Lobbying successes included reducing corporation tax, blocking European Union rules to limit commodity trading, limiting a nonprofit pension plan for low-wage workers and ending government plans for a new watchdog for publicly traded companies, the bureau said.
“In a time of austerity, the finance lobby has been able to secure tax breaks and favorable legislative outcomes,” Iain Overton, managing editor of the bureau, said in a statement.
The bureau is based at City University in London and was founded in 2010 with a 2-million-pound donation from the David and Elaine Potter Foundation. David Potter founded Psion Plc (PON), which sold the first electronic organizer in 1984. Potter has given money to the Labour party, and was appointed to the board of the Bank of England in 2003, when Gordon Brown was Britain’s chancellor.
There are 129 organizations that lobby for finance companies in the U.K., with more than 800 people employed, according to the bureau. More than 120 members of Parliament’s upper House of Lords have direct links to finance companies, the bureau said.
The research took four months to compile from documents obtained from the Treasury, the Financial Services Authority, the City of London Corporation and the British Bankers’ Association.
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