Labour’s non-dom donor Lord Paul, who was stripped of his job in government due to fiddling his expenses, personally bankrolled Gordon’s leadership campaign and has promised all the money required to fight an election campaign. And it’s not like he can’t afford it. Paul made his millions through steel conglomerate Caparo. Hardly a man of the people, or indeed cut from the Labour Party cloth, a party he claims to love and support (ever since he stopped donating to the Tories under Thatcher). Just a brief look at how he treated his workers would be enough to send shivers down the spine of any loyal Labour activist.
Back in 1989 the Caparo took control of the cash-rich Armstrong Engineering. The company’s pension fund was just over 30% in surplus. Under Lord Paul’s control Caparo then spent the better part of a decade refusing to top up the fund despite the fact that it was having to pay out over £6 million due to a early retirements and a redundancy program, this was on top of the £8 million it was already paying to retirees. Lord Paul’s ownership created a fourteen million pound hole in the companies pension funds.
By 2000 the pension trustees and accountants recommended that the company inject £2 million a year into the pension pot to plug the cap. Paul accepted however Caparo never made a single payment and instead announced in 2002 that the final salary pension scheme was to be frozen. The unions slammed this “appalling treatment” by Lord Paul of his workers and inevitably picket lines were formed. As with Robert Maxwell’s raiding of pension funds, the Mirror, the paper most read by trade unionists, remains silent and hasn’t reported a word about Lord Paul so far. Kevin Maguire, the Mirror’s political editor is as close to Downing Street as any journalist, has only recently conceded that the Labour Party should not be taking money from Lord Paul.
With Gordon’s own pension raiding activities, it is perhaps no surprise that the Prime Minster is so at ease accepting donations from a man who profits by raiding the pension schemes of his workers. The money that should be in the pockets of loyal steel workers is now propping up the declining bank balance of the Labour Party via Lord Paul’s off shore bank accounts…