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Businesses (Political Contributions)

Volume 979: debated on Wednesday 20 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will initiate a study into a dual-pricing policy enabling consumer choice to be made about political contributions by businesses;(2)if he will initiate a study into the price effect of political contributions by businesses; and if he will make a statement.

No. Since the available information indicates that political contributions are equivalent to less than 0·1 per cent. of dividends, and a much smaller proportion of turnover, the general effect of political contributions on prices will be negligible.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the latest available figures for contributions by businesses to political parties.

My Department undertakes a regular analysis (published in Business Monitor MA3, Company Finance) of the accounts of 1,500 companies whose net assets exceeded £5 million or whose gross income exceeded £0·5 million in 1973, excluding companies whose main activities are in agriculture, mining, shipping, insurance, banking and finance. The latest information on political contributions from this analysis is for the year ending 30 April 1978. This indicated that the companies concerned disclosed aggregate contributions for political purposes under section 19 of the Companies Act 1967 of £1,120,000 for that year.