Balancing the Books

Although a young Guido did fail to become an accountant (well, failed to complete the course due to a surplus of imagination) he learnt how to read balance sheets and yet still can’t figure out Labour’s balance sheet. From the Labour Party’s 2004 Annual Report :

“The Labour Party at the year-end had agreed overdraft and long term loan facilities with the Co-operative Bank and Unity Trust Bank totalling £11.5 million. “ (Secured against property.)

They paid £640,000 interest on “Bank loans” implying a commercially competitive rate of 5.56% from the Co-Op and trade union backed Unity bank. Note 17 of the Financial Statement shows the loan repayment schedule, it also has under the heading “Other Loans” nothing listed for 2004. So presumably the £14 million of Loans for Lordships was all raised in 2005, at a rate of more than a million a month? Page 14 of the report lists the individuals and organisations who gave over £5,000. Notable is pint-sized Derek Tullett (in for, we now know, £400,000). Tullet is a City moneybroker and bitter rival of Michael Spencer, the Tory moneybags backer. Derek’s management practises include forcing underperfoming Jewish staff to dress up in Nazi uniforms – which resulted in a hefty six-figure compensation payout at an industrial tribune.

Guido notices that Labour also raised £6 million from dinners – another shakedown that can be charged by corporations to expenses, lobbyists love this dodge. It gets round making tiresome corporate governance declarations.

We will have to wait until September to see an account for 2005, it will certainly make interesting reading. The interest bill for the Loans for Lordships should, at commercial rates, be at least £775,000. It is too late now to cook the books retrospectively. Either the interest has been paid or it hasn’t. Any attempt to cover it up at this stage will involve falsifying accounts, something the Labour party NEC will not, presumably, be in any mood to countenance. No interest payments will mean the whole “it’s a loan” thing will be proven to be a lie – but we know that already. They told us only yesterday they could not reveal the names because it was confidential. Today they broke that confidence. Things are unravelling.




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