Posts Tagged ‘Michael Spencer’

Once again we find Cameron standing up for the wrong people and mixing with the wrong crowd

26/09/2013, 06:31:09 PM

by Michael Dugher

Despite the fact that the city broker ICAP, which was founded and run by David Cameron’s former treasurer Michael Spencer, has been fined £55 million by regulators over the Libor scandal, it has been confirmed that Mr Spencer will be attending the Conservative party conference in Manchester.  This will give the Tory donor unrivalled access to both the prime minister and the chancellor.  No wonder people say Cameron can’t stand up for working people, just a privileged few.  Once again we find Cameron mixing with the wrong crowd.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the US has found that ICAP brokers, including one known as “Lord Libor”, helped rig the inter-bank lending rate for a period of at least four years.  And the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK has said that the culture at ICAP Europe Limited exacerbated the problem, which included a “heavy focus on revenue at the expense of regulatory requirements”.  Indeed, it was discovered that the desk at the centre of the misconduct was not audited for four years.

Cameron fought tooth and nail last year to avoid launching a proper investigation into the rigging of interest rates and now it has come out that the company of one his biggest donors was heavily involved in the fraud.  In the House of Commons in July 2012, Ed Miliband called for a two-part, judge-led inquiry into what happened as well as the wider culture and practices of the industry.  But Cameron repeatedly refused.  Why was it that he was so determined not to act?

Electoral Commission records show that Michael Spencer has donated a total of £4,804,681.46 to the Conservative Party.  This includes £279,389.59 in person and £4,525,291.87 through his holding company IPGL Ltd, which owns a chunk of ICAP.   He was also one of the “significant donors” who was given special access to the prime minister and the hancellor through private Downing Street dinners (the “dinners for donors” scandal) and as part of the Tories’ exclusive leader’s group.

Spencer was Cameron’s co-treasurer between 2006 and 2010 and he is still the chairman of the Conservative Foundation – an organisation set up to support the party’s financial future.  The minister for the cabinet office, Francis Maude, even described Michael Spencer as a “personal friend of the prime minister and the prime minister’s wife”.


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Revealed: £1.9bn surge in gambling as desperate Brits try to bet their way out of recession

26/08/2011, 08:00:27 AM

by Atul Hatwal

As George Osborne’s economic vice gets ever tighter, new HMRC figures show that struggling Britons gambled £1.9bn more than last year. It follows two years where the total amount gambled actually fell.

Based on government receipts from the duties levied on gambling since the start of this financial year, the projections for 2011/12 are of another big increase, by £3.5bn to £48bn.

This is the first time since government records began in the mid-1990s that gambling has risen while household incomes have fallen.

Earlier this year, a major survey by the gambling commission found that nearly three-quarters of Britons – 73% – had gambled in the past year, up from 63% in 2007 when the survey was last conducted.

Most worryingly of all, the numbers with a problem gambling habit was estimated to have risen to 451,000, an increase of 5% since 2007.

When in opposition, David Cameron was quick to position himself as an opponent of gambling.

In 2007 he over-ruled his shadow chancellor in opposing the Labour government’s plans on casinos and led the Tories in a U-turn on their previous commitment to support the proposals.

In the House of Commons, he was clear that his fears on problem gambling were at the heart of his concerns. Following the awarding of a super-casino for Manchester he said,

We congratulated Manchester, because we thought the review had been conducted properly, but then we found out that the decision to put it in Manchester, they hadn’t looked at really important issues, like will this encourage problem gambling”?

The current minister responsible for gambling, John Penrose, couldn’t have been clearer in his views in an EDM he tabled in 2006 on the problems of gambling addiction in his local area,

“I don’t want to see one form of addiction – drugs, being replaced by another – gambling”.

But since those early days in opposition, the Tories have adopted a very different approach. (more…)

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