BANKS' SPEND Pounds 92million ON LOBBYING MPs; COST OF BID TO INFLUENCE POLICY EXPOSED Fresh Call to Rein in Industry Follows Rise of Powerbrokers

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Byline: Torcuil Crichton

BRITAIN'S banks and finance industry spent pounds 92.8million lobbying the Westminster government last year.

The revelations on the size and scale of Britain's financial lobby have led to fresh calls to rein in the industry.

The activities of public affairs firms on behalf of banks and financial companies has never been quantified - until now.

But a four-month study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showed that 129 British organisations linked with financial services are trying to steer government policy.

They spent a total of pounds 92.8million and directly employ more than 800 individuals.

The extent of the City lobbying operation was highlighted when the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland spent an estimated pounds 592,000 employing staff to lobby the Government - who own 83 per cent of the bank.

Many of the organisations that hire lobbyists are based outside the UK.

The Cayman Islands tax haven hires the Scottish PR and public affairs company Media House to do its bidding in the corridors of power. Media House spent pounds 500,000 last year lobbying on behalf of financial clients.

The lobbying campaigns are credited with cutting the UK's corporation tax and duties on banks' overseas divisions - measures which deprive the Treasury of billions.

The investigation also said lobbying "killed off" Government plans for a new corporate super-watchdog to police quoted firms.

Lobbyists also persuaded ministers to "neuter" the not-for-profit pension scheme launching in October to benefit millions of low-paid workers.

The financial services lobby consists of public affairs agencies, industry bodies, law firms, management consultancies, political donors, regulators and one local authority.

The City of London Corporation, who govern the Square Mile, London's financial district, spent the most - an estimated pounds 10. …