UK: ... BUT NOT COMING OUT - INDUSTRIALISTS SUPPORTING THE LABOUR PARTY.

UK: ... BUT NOT COMING OUT - INDUSTRIALISTS SUPPORTING THE LABOUR PARTY. - Getting high-profile industrialists to 'come out' as supporters is proving tough for the repackaged Labour party. Despite ditching contentious policies such as the re-nationalisat

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Getting high-profile industrialists to 'come out' as supporters is proving tough for the repackaged Labour party. Despite ditching contentious policies such as the re-nationalisation of privatised industries and committing itself to manufacturing under a new-look leader, its business backers often make strange bedfellows with the cause.

Jarvis Astaire, for example, the socialist boxing promoter, property owner and deputy chairman of Wembley, will presumably not be looking too favourably on any plans to tighten the tax regime. One of his companies, Jaras Entertainments, 'regards Jurby Limited, incorporated in the Cayman Islands, as its ultimate holding company', according to its annual report. Nothing wrong with using a tax-efficient base, but it appears to sit uneasily with the increasingly hard line on offshore investments coming out of Walworth Road.

Similarly, Lord Hollick, one of the few City figures to back Labour publicly, hit the headlines two years ago when it was revealed that a money-broking subsidiary of his investment group, MAI, was proposing to pay staff part of their salary in gold bullion to reduce their tax liabilities.

Then there is David Goldstone, friend of Neil Kinnock, who prospered mightily as a property developer under Mrs Thatcher, only to suffer in the recession. His company, Regalian Properties, has been quite literally saved by selling multi-million-pound flats in the Tory heartland of central London - to residents who are, presumably, no friends of Labour.

Of course, the party has other backers in industry: Caparo's Swraj Paul, for example, who is a confidant of Gordon Brown; Christopher Haskins of Northern Foods; and Philip Jeffrey, a DIY millionaire, who recently rescued the New Statesman. What Labour still lacks, however, is the support of an industrialist running an FTSE-100 manufacturer. But with the Government's ratings languishing and Labour continuing to move sharply to the centre, that might be just a matter of time.

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