The businessmen in the ministries
A STRING of Britain's biggest businesses have "donated" employees to work in key government departments, an investigation by the Observer reveals. The same companies have won millions of pounds worth of business as a result of government decisions, and government policies have been altered to favour their interests.
- BAe has eight staff working for free for the Ministry of Defence. Rolls Royce and tank maker Vickers also have staff working free at the ministry. BAe has benefited from New Labour's decision to keep selling arms to Zimbabwe and Indonesia.
- Construction firms Tarmac, Kvaerner, Over Arup, Bovis, and Christiani and Nielsen have all had staff working in the Department of Transport. The firms stand to make millions from road building schemes.
- Oil firms BP and Shell have had staff working free in the Department of Trade and Industry, and the foreign office. Both firms are accused of human rights abuses in Nigeria and Colombia. They have also benefited from the government's retreat from tightening up tax rules on North Sea oil, and from it watering down proposals on a climate change levy on energy firms.
- British Telecom has two staff working free in the Department of Trade and Industry. It successfully lobbied to be exempt from the tighter regulation of privatised utilities planned in the Utilities Bill.
- British American Tobacco and AstraZeneca, one of the main firms developing genetically modified crops, also have people working in the Department of Trade and Industry.