“Parity for women seems to be decades away,” said Felicia Willow, executive director of the Fawcett Society, a leading women’s rights group. “Government and business must tackle the deep-rooted gender inequalities in our society and close the gaps that have been created by the pandemic. “
“Men dominate all areas of politics, public life and business,” she said, “so it’s no surprise to see this chasm reflected in political donations.”
Supermarket mogul Lord Sainsbury is the UK’s largest political donor, distributing some £ 40million. In 2016 he gave £ 2million each to Labor and Liberal Democrats ahead of the EU referendum.
Sainsbury has announced that he will end his political donations in 2017, only to give £ 8million to the Lib Dems in the run-up to the 2019 election. This is the largest donation on record by the Election Commission .
The top ten donors also include Lord Farmer, former Conservative Party treasurer and boss of hedge funds.
Farmer, a born again Christian, began supporting the Conservative Party two decades ago, apparently in reaction to Labor’s policy of paying welfare benefits to single mothers. He has now given over £ 8million to political parties and campaigns.
openDemocracy has analyzed every individual donation given to a political party, MP or campaign group since 2001.
MPs have to report all donations over £ 500 in the Election Commission register, while political parties have to report donations over £ 7,500.