In general the Labour Party has allowed opposition to the Government's planning reforms to operate behind the respectable fronts of the National Trust and the CPRE.
But Jack Dromey, the shadow planning minister, is challenging the Conservatives over accepting donations from property developers according to the Telegraph.
"The Tory party at the top has an unhealthy relationship with property developers. Our planning system should not be set in secret by Conservative ministers and a cabal of those who seek to profit."
For Dromey there is no shortage of housing. He married the Countess of Longford's niece. The couple have various properties scattered around the country. For others the situation is rather different.
As Treasurer of the Labour Party, Dromey's knowledge of Party funding was sometimes rather limited. But he should be aware in recent years Party coffers have been swelled significantly by property developers.
- Andrew Rosenfeld. Since the General Election, The Sunday Times has reported that Andrew Rosenfeld is to donate £1 million to the Labour Party: ‘Ed Miliband has secured Labour’s largest donation since the party lost power: a £1m gift from a Swiss-based property tycoon. In a coup for the Labour leader, Andrew Rosenfeld, who is worth an estimated £100m, has pledged a seven-figure sum to target marginal seats’ (The Sunday Times, 17 July 2011,). Andrew Rosenfeld was, at various stages, co-founder, Chief Executive and Chairman of property development company Minerva plc.
- Lord Sugar. Lord Sugar owns Amsprop, a property investment and development company. He has donated £244,272 to Labour since the General Election (Electoral Commission). He reportedly donated £750,000 before then – £400,000 after January 2009 (The Telegraph, 13 April 2010).
- David Abrahams. He was involved in a donations scandal after admitting ‘gifting’ £650,000 of money to others, for them to pass on to the Labour Party, so avoiding having to declare the donations himself. Peter Watt, General Secretary of the Labour Party, resigned over the matter, and the police investigated in 2007, although no charges were brought (Sky News, 7 May 2009).
- Sir David Garrard. Gave £352,278 in 2008 and £200,000 in 2003 (Electoral Commission). According to the Times, Garrard ‘helped set up the London-based Minerva property group, standing down as chairman in 1995 and selling £37m of shares’ (Sunday Times, 27 April 2008).
- Mick Hucknall. Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall has given Labour over £50,000. He has been listed as a major shareholder in Ask Property Developments (Evening Standard, 2 March 2007).
- Canary Wharf Group. ‘ONE of Britain’s biggest property developers gave more than £120,000 to the Labour party to help to gain access to ministers and key officials during a lobbying campaign for a new rail link. Canary Wharf Group gave Labour the funds as part of its campaign for the £16 billion Crossrail scheme to link the City of London and the Isle of Dogs to Heathrow. The last donation, of £35,000, was made on September 29 this year, six days before Gordon Brown gave the project the go-ahead’ (Sunday Times, 16 December 2007).
- Ken Wills. Chief Executive of Commercial Group Properties Plc, Ken Wills, made a donation of £25,000 to Labour MP Stephen Ladyman’s Thanet South Labour Party in 2007 (This is Kent, 9 October 2008).
- Charles Skene. Chairman of an Aberdeen property development company the Skene Group gave £10,000 to the Scotish Labour Party in January 2004, and another £10,000 in 2005 (Herald Scotland, 12 December 2007).
- James Kean. Described as ‘local property developer and Labour donor’, the Times reported how there was concern that ‘a number of recent planning decisions that have gone his way, supported and presided over by politicians from the same party that has benefited from his largesse.’ The Times reports that ‘in 2008, Kean gave a donation of £1,260 to Ingram and McCann’s local party. Kilbride Construction, owned by Kean’s brother Paul, gave the Scottish Labour party a donation of £2,000 last year. And earlier this year, Legends [owned by Kean] hosted a fundraising evening for the local Labour party’ (Times, 11 April 2010).
If Dromey thinks donations from property developers to the Conservatives are wrong, why does he think it is all right for these donations to be made to the Labour Party?