Legal and General
Legal and General is one of the UK's largest financial services companies.
University of Buckingham
According to Paul Foot, following the Conservative Party election victory in 1983 a 'gang of tightly knit Thatcherites' who were closely linked to the University of Buckingham, 'decided on a big push for private enterprise in the field of old age pensions'. Foot argues that the idea was developed and implemented by Tony Newton the then minister of state for social security, Norman Fowler and John Major by using the Social Security Act. Foot describes how this led to 'swarms of "agents" from companies like the Prudential and Legal and General' who:
- scoured the country for suckers in occupational schemes who could be flogged a private scheme instead. At least a million people became victims. Almost all the schemes they were sold turned out to be worse than the schemes they left.
Making Britain a country that 'works for everyone'
John Godfrey, head of corporate affairs at L&G, is to take over the Downing Street Policy Unit on the appointment of incoming Prime Minister Theresa May, in order to push her through her agenda to reduce inequality for low and middle income families and 'make Britain a country that works for everyone'.
Despite a lack of Whitehall experience, Godfrey boasts stewardship of L&G's impressive corporate and social responsibility program concerning financial inclusion and housing, two key areas of the new PM's role. He last year suggested an automatic enrolment scheme to financially protect works who were facing redundancy or long term illness, and feels that financial management need be taught in schools to help people cope with issues should they arise. Eyebrows are being raised at the appointment of course, throwing new light on to the extensively growing revolving door between lobbyists and advisers.
Tamasin Cave, head of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency commented: 'If I was L&G I would be rubbing my hands in glee that their man has been taken into the heart of No 10...It’s not too much of a surprise though as this is a government head to toe full of former lobbyists.'
Toby Lloyd, head of housing development at the charity Shelter and former colleague of Godfrey's, defended the appointment: 'He is an extremely smart man who has developed a really enlightened corporate and social responsibility programme at Legal & General and who really sees the big picture around issues such as housing.'
Godfrey does have a known political background with the Conservative Party, and was an adviser to Douglas Hurd in the 1980s and even stood in a byelection in Perth and Kinross in 1995, losing to the SNP. In his new position, he will answer to Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, two of May's closest confidents from her time in the Home Office. Hill famously fell out with No. 10 while David Cameron was still its occupant under suspicion she was putting the home secretary's interests over that of the government.
Some are skeptical about Hill's appointment as joint chief of staff given her sometimes abrasive style of working: 'Fiona is tremendously close to Theresa and will be a key player in Downing Street,' one source said. 'But she made a lot of enemies when she was in the Home Office and if she continues with some of her patterns of working there she is going to get into trouble.'
- Legal and General, About Us, Legal and General, Accessed 05-September-2010
- University of Buckingham, Financial statements for the year ended 31st December 2006, University of Buckingham, Accessed 05-September-2010
- Paul Foot, Comment & Analysis: Swindle of the age, The Guardian, 19-March-2002
- Oliver Wright, 'Corporate lobbyist signed up to lead the fight for fairer Britain' 16 July 2016, The Times, accessed 20 July 2016
- Register for 1st December 2013 - 28th February 2014 APPC, accessed 1 October 2014