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Tories given millions by property developers

By Richard Hall

Property firms that are likely to benefit from the Government's planning reforms have donated a total of £3.3m to the Conservative Party in the last three years, according to reports.

A large number of developers are being awarded access to senior Tories through the Conservative Property Forum, a donor group which sets up meetings to discuss planning and property issues.

The disclosure is likely to lead to questions over the Government's impartiality when finalising proposals to shake-up the planning system, as dozens of developers are seemingly able to buy access to MPs with influence on the matter.

The Government says the changes are vital to make housing more affordable. It says planning delays cost the economy £3bn per year.

However, the proposals have angered core Conservative supporters who want the party to protect the leafy areas in which many of them live. According to the report, the Conservative Property Forum contributes £150,000 a year to the Conservative Party and charges its members £2,500 to meet senior MPs to discuss planning matters. The forum met with Grant Shapps, now the Housing minister, last year when the Conservatives were in opposition.

The chairman of the forum, Mike Slade, has given more than £300,000 over the last decade, through his property firm and through individual donations.

A number of other property developers have donated large sums to the party. Billionaires David and Simon Reuben have donated almost £500,000 over the past decade and IM Properties has given around £1m since 2009.

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