Labour funding – from the millionaires not the millions

Chris Corney, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

The Labour Party has proudly announced record private donations totalling £13 million in 2023. But when you lift the lid, this was not because of a huge outpouring of generosity from the general public. Just three millionaires donated £8.5 million.

Two members of the Sainsburys clan donated £3 million and £1 million respectively to Labour, whilst another Sainsbury left £10 million to the Tories in a will. They certainly cover their bases in that family!

Labour’s biggest donation of £4.5 million came from South African businessman Gary Lubner, who has business dealings in that country going back into the apartheid era.

There were some people who thought the Labour Party would be in financial difficulty when 200,000 members left after Starmer became leader four years ago. But since then, like Tony Blair before him, he has established the Labour Party as the B-team for the bosses’ class. With the Tories collapsing, there is no shortage of wealthy backers reaching for their wallets to make up the shortfall caused by falling members’ subscriptions.

People do not give millions to a political party without wanting something in return.

Well, almost. Trade unions give millions to Labour and it is not at all clear what union members get for their money. Socialist Party members have fought in a number of unions, including one-time biggest backer Unite, for them to be able to support candidates that will fight for their policies, regardless of political party.

So, with the Labour leadership under the influence of its millionaire backers, who will represent the rest of us? Every week brings new reasons why we need a new mass workers’ party that will be funded by ordinary people to serve our interests.

If you want to help support a working-class socialist challenge at the ballot box in the upcoming General Election, donate to the Socialist Party’s special appeal.