• Saturday, May 18, 2024

Business

Tory donor Puneet Gupta dumps party over ‘stagnant’ growth under Sunak

The businessman, who co-owns the Scottish-based supplier PG Paper, said the government’s performance had been ‘hugely disappointing’.

Puneet Gupta (Puneet Gupta LinkedIn account)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AWARD-WINNING businessman Puneet Gupta, whose firm donated more than £50,000 to the Conservative Party, has criticized what he perceives as “stagnant” economic growth under prime minister Rishi Sunak and has announced his plan to back the Labour Party instead, The Times reported.

Co-owner of the Scottish-based supplier PG Paper alongside his wife Poonam, Gupta expressed deep disappointment with the government’s performance. Speaking with the outlet, he emphasized that “a change of course is required” to bolster both the economy and public services.

Some in the government have seen the businessman’s move as embarrassing since he was recently invited to a reception at Downing Street.

It was during a non-political gathering to mark the religious festival of Vaisakhi that a few senior Tories learned for the first time about Gupta’s departure from the Conservative camp, The Times report added.

Read: Asian donors put faith in Sunak ahead of elections

Over the past five years, Gupta’s company, PG Paper, has contributed £51,498 to the ruling party. Approximately a quarter of these payments were made after Sunak became the premier in October 2022. According to records of the Electoral Commission, the most recent donation was made in December.

PG Paper had in the past donated to the failed leadership campaign of Scottish Labour MSP, Anas Sarwar, in 2017. The latter has since risen to become the Scottish Labour leader.

Read: Tory donor Mohamed Amersi reveals why he is not suing Sir Nicholas Soames for libel

While Gupta acknowledged his previous support for both parties, he affirmed his decision to withdraw backing for the Conservatives, The Times report added.

“As someone who runs an international business headquartered in Scotland, it’s been hugely disappointing to see both the United Kingdom and Scotland remain stagnant in these vital areas in recent years,” the report quoted him as saying.

Gupta, whose LinkedIn account described him as an expert in India-UK relations, also said that a change of course is the need of the day if one eyes improvement in the global standing of the UK and the lives of the ordinary people. He also said that “the only party offering a realistic chance for change across both the United Kingdom and Scotland is the Labour Party”.

“We thank Mr Gupta for his support and wish him well for the future. Come the general election, in key seats across the country, only the Scottish Conservatives can beat the SNP and switch the focus away from their independence obsession and on to the public’s real priorities — fixing Scotland’s ailing public services and growing the economy,” a Scottish Conservative spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Times.

According to the latest Electoral Commission figures, Tories secured £9.8 million and Labour £6 million in the final quarter of last year.

On Sunday (12), Labour kept up its fundraising efforts — sending an email to supporters that said “money wins elections” and large donations had “helped the Tories become the formidable campaign machine that they are today”.

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