Monday, 26 March 2012

142 Peers have Financial Links to Companies Involved in Private Health Care


The investigation into the registered interests of the House of Lords members has revealed serious flaws in our democracy whereby Lords who have outside financial interests are allowed to vote on a bill that may benefit them.

As the Health and Social Care bill went through the upper chamber, Social Investigations highlighted the various members and their financial links to companies involved in private healthcare. These Peers across all parties have a mixture of interest, which include shares in private healthcare companies; being chairman, consultants, and senior advisers to investment groups funding the vultures ready to swoop.

At best this is self-interest, at worse this is institutional corruption and is a part of the same problem that just came to light over the donation scandal. We are not in this together, they are out for themselves and the corporations they serve.

One rule for others, one for them:

If you are a councillor at local government level with financial interest or a partner with financial interest, then they must declare a ‘prejudicial interest’, then they must leave the room and take no further part in discussions or voting. In many cases this is left down to the discretion of the elected member but with the knowledge that this will be challenged somewhere down the line. Why are the Lords not treated in the same way?

Petition:

An e-petition has been set up which is here - http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31991 - if you can please sign it to stop Lords voting on their own interests, this would go some way to prevent their behaviour.

The numbers:
In total there are 141 Peers that have these connections, representing 17% of the total. The Conservatives who created the bill and in many quarters want to see the NHS dismantled had over a quarter of their members with these self-interests. This is intolerable.  In addition to this the Liberal Democrats who have allowed this bill to go through have one in ten with these interests. This may well be the least, but none of them should have been allowed to vote. However the self-interest is across the board with one in six Crossbench peers and one in six Labour peers having these interests. This means we must watch them if they get back into power in case they try and water down any repeal.


When we look into more detail, as I did for Baroness CumberlegeVirginia Bottomley and Lord Chadlington the behaviour and the clear conflict becomes apparent.

Conservatives: 1 in 4 – see full list
Liberal Democrats:
1 in 10 – see full list
Labour:
1 in 6 – see full list
Crossbench:
1 in 6 – see full list

To view full list of peers with financial interests in private healthcare companies click here.

The investigations will continue, with certain Lords and companies being looked at in more detail. If you are a journalist or member of the public who has any information then please contact me at: andrewfiskar (at) gmail.com


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