The founder of Liberty Steel has revealed that the company owes ‘many billions’ to collapsed financial backer Greensill Capital but insisted none of its plants will shut down ‘under my watch’.
Labour has called on ministers to provide clarity on the future of Liberty Steel’s UK plants amid fears that thousands of jobs could be lost if the firm goes under.
This week, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng refused to rule out the prospect that the company could be taken into public ownership, saying ‘all options are on the table’.
It comes as the Government has also been facing questions over David Cameron’s links with Greensill when he was prime minister and subsequent lobbying on its behalf after he left office.
Liberty Steel CEO Sanjeev Gupta has said he no plans to close any of his metal plants
Mr Gupta, pictured in Newport, South Wales, said Liberty Steel is ‘currently enjoying one of the best markets in steel and aluminium’
Thousands of jobs are at risk at Liberty Steel’s plants in areas such as Rochdale, pictured
Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning, Liberty Steel boss Sanjeev Gupta was asked how much money was owed to Greensill.
He said that ‘given the legal disputes we have with them, I can’t talk specifics’, but added ‘it is in many billions’.
Mr Gupta said Liberty Steel is ‘currently enjoying one of the best markets in steel and aluminium’, and its recent efforts to make ‘efficiency gains’ are paying ‘good results’.
‘So, as a result, actually, we have a huge amount of interest from new financiers who are willing to back us,’ he said.
He added: ‘Of course, given the situation, this sort of thing takes time and hence we need to find short-term solutions. But we’re not waiting for anybody. We’ve taken matters into our own hands.’
Mr Gupta said he has launched a project connected to ‘cash measures’ plants are taking ‘to optimise and conserve and be careful’.
He acknowledged there are some challenges in the steel sector, such as ‘high energy prices’, but said the business has built its own plants to supply renewable energy to its operations.
Mr Gupta added: ‘Our overall global operations are profitable, we have refinancing offers, we will refinance and we will support our UK business also.
‘None of my steel plants under my watch will be shut down.’
Kwasi Kwarteng, pictured, said the government could consider taking Liberty Steel into public ownership although he has previously ruled out giving the firm a £170m bailout
Mr Gupta said his firm owes ‘billions’ to the collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital, whose CEO Lex Greensill, pictured, was an advisor to former PM David Cameron
He accepted that ‘the UK has been a tough journey’ and ‘labour of love’, but added that he is ‘committed to my UK steel plants’.
‘I believe in them, they have a great future. We’ve saved thousands of jobs here. We’ve shown that economically those businesses can work,’ he said.
Questioned about reports that he faces ‘winding-up petitions’ against some of his UK companies and that ‘you can’t afford to pay’, he replied: ‘It is natural to some degree that lenders want to protect their own position.
‘But we also have our position. We have committed facilities from Greensill for three years. According to us, these debts are not due.’
Mr Gupta said there have been ‘positive discussions’ with the administrator for Greensill.
He added: ‘It makes no sense for them or any of the creditors to destroy jobs, but, more importantly, to destroy value, because that is the value which will give them the recovery.
‘I’m very confident that we will find short-term solutions through our own efforts and will find long-term solutions through refinancing.’
Mr Kwarteng previously confirmed that ministers had turned down a request by Liberty’s parent company, GFG Alliance, for a £170 million bailout.
The company turned to the Government for support following the collapse of its main financial backer, Greensill.
The Government has also been facing questions over David Cameron’s links with Greensill when he was prime minister and subsequent lobbying on its behalf after he left office.
The firm has since filed for insolvency after failing to secure support through the Government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, with its collapse threatening thousands of jobs in Liberty Steel.
Asked why he had dealings with Greensill in the first place, Mr Gupta said his business’s approach of buying plants that were either shut or closing meant it could not access ‘normal conventional funding’.
He said Greensill’s support was ‘a breath of fresh air’, but added that it had been time to ‘move on’ and ‘refinance away’.
Mr Gupta added that ‘without their help, if I’m very honest, we would not be where we are, we would not have been able to build this business which we’ve had.’
Asked if Mr Cameron did any lobbying work for him, Mr Gupta replied: ‘I have not had any interactions with him.’
Shameless: David Cameron ‘camped in the desert with killer Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’ to woo him for finance firm Greensill in pursuit of ‘$60m’ pay day
David Cameron and billionaire financier Lex Greensill went on a desert camping trip with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – months after the Saudi leader was accused of ordering Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination, it has been claimed
The lobbying trip to Saudi Arabia in early 2020 for now collapsed Greensill Capital took place following global condemnation of Bin Salman for Khashoggi’s murder, according to the Financial Times.
A UN report had months before found ‘credible links’ between the Crown Prince and the murder in 2018- and the US has since formally announced that Bin Salman approved the killing.
It will add to questions over the former Prime Minister’s lobbying for the Australian financier – which has already sparked calls for a public inquiry after Greensill collapsed last month when insurers refused to underwrite its loans and Credit Suisse froze the firm’s $10bn in funds.
More than 50,000 people could lose their jobs as a result of the Greensill collapse, which has also forced steel giant Liberty Steel to ask for a taxpayer-funded £170m bailout.
Mr Cameron is alleged to have been expecting to make $60m through share options from his advisory position at Greensill – had the company been floated – and questions are now growing over whether he improperly used his knowledge and contacts as Prime Minister to secure the role.
Jamal Khashoggi: The Saudi Arabian journalist assassinated and dismembered on Crown Prince’s orders’
Khashoggi (pictured) was killed inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate in 2018
Jamal Khashoggi was a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist and dissident who was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
The US declassified a CIA report early this year that concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman approved the murder of Khashoggi, who was critical of the kingdom.
The 59-year-old Washington Post journalist was living in Turkey and visited the Saudi embassy in Istanbul for a visa appointment on October 2.
There, a 15 -strong Saudi government death squad was waiting for him.
An audio recording of Khashoggi’s murder was made by the Turkish secret services.
It showed how he was choked to death while struggling with the assassins.
He was then dismembered, and authorities believe his remains were then dissolved in acid.
Cameron was Prime Minister when Greensill was pitching his financial products across government, and Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood introduced the pair.
And it has since emerged that Lex Greensill was given a desk in the Cabinet Office and assisted in pitching his business across 11 government departments.
Years later, the company was given accreditation to lend money under the Government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).
Cameron also faced criticism for his unsuccessfully lobbying of Government officials – including Chancellor Rishi Sunak – to increase Greensill’s role in the Government-backed loan scheme.
This week he was cleared by a lobbying watchdog over his work for the company.
The watchdog looked at whether he should have registered his lobbying work for Greensill – which took place years after he had stepped down as PM.
But they cleared him of any wrongdoing as he was officially an employee of the company and therefore he did not need to make a declaration.
While PM, Cameron ordered Conservative peers to vote down a Labour amendment to new lobbying laws, which would have added extra transparency.
Had the amendment passed, the work he later completed for Greensill would have needed to be registered.
Labour now is calling for the standards watchdog to look into government links to Greensill.
And the Committee on Standards in Public Life, an independent advisory body that advises Number 10 on ethical standards, has privately indicated it would consider Labour’s submissions, according to the Financial Times.
Today Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, called for a through investigation.
She said: ‘Rishi Sunak is the guardian of public money. We need to know that he’s being careful with it.
‘That’s why we’ve called for a full, transparent and thorough investigation into the decision to accredit Greensill to the CLBILS scheme. We need answers.’
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves echoed the calls, demanding ‘urgent answers from Cameron and from the Government’.
However business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today defended Mr Cameron over his links to Greensill Capital.
Mr Kwarteng told Sky News that former Prime Minister did ‘absolutely nothing wrong’ in his work with the fiance firm.
Defending Cameron, Kwarteng today told Sky News said: ‘As far as I know David Cameron did absolutely nothing wrong.
‘He was a public servant for a long time, he has now gone into public life and was working for Greensill Capital.
‘People have looked into his role. People have looked into the fact that he may or may not have contacted officials in the Treasury.
‘As far as I know everything was above board. He has been largely exonerated and I think we should just move on.’
MailOnline has contacted Greensill Capital, the Saudi Embassy and the office of David Cameron for comment. Administrators for Greensill declined to comment.
David Cameron (pictured left) and billionaire banker Lex Greensill (pictured right) went on a desert camping trip with Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as part of a business charm offensive, it has been claimed
The Crown Prince (pictured) is ruler of the middle eastern nation with a reported personal wealth of more than £3billion
The camping trip reportedly took place around January or February last year – before Covid restrictions were put in place in the UK. Pictured: Saudi’s Crown Prince meets with Japan’s Prime Minister in Riyadh in January last year
The camping trip and flights allegedly took place in the months after a forensic UN report found ‘credible links’ between the Crown Prince and murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi
What was Greensill Capital and what did it do?
Greensill Capital was an Anglo-Australian finance company set up by billionaire banker Lex Greensill in 2011.
The company focused on supply chain funding and made its money by acting as a middle-man in large business transactions – taking a cut during the process.
It paid suppliers up-front on behalf of purchasing companies, and then recouped the money from the customer at a later date plus its fee.
In essence, if a company wanted to buy raw product to make another product, it could go to Greensill to secure the funding.
In theory, the purchasing company could guarantee a profit because it knew it could make the raw product into a more expensive product,
But the company might not have the ‘capital’ to afford its raw materials up front, and they would go to a supply company such as Greensill to front the cash – taking a cut in the process when the debt was repaid.
Mr Greensill added an extra layer to this, by allowing investors to buy the invoices as short-term assets which could be sold and traded.
This process – which isn’t usually practices in supply chain funding – pulled in money from investors and helped to pay back suppliers.
This process was done through Swiss lender Credit Suisse and asset management firm GAM.
It was a move which helped rocketed Greensill up the financial ladder.
But, ultimately, the system runs on debt. And as the company rapidly expanded, so did the debt piles.
However the company looked a solid bet, with Japanese funding giant SoftBank investing £800million.
Warning flags began to appear in 2019 however.
An audit in 2019 found Greensill Bank was overly exposed to companies owned by Sanjeev Gupta, owner of British steel producer Liberty Steel.
Then, in a decisive blow, insurance company Tokio Marine, which provided cover for around £4.6billion of Greensill’s capital, said it would no longer extend two policies that were underwriting Greensill’s clients, the buyers in the supply chain and protecting investors.
Spooked by the move, Credit Suisse then froze £10billion of funds it had invested in Greensill.
Greensill Capital filed for insolvency earlier this month and has been taken over by administrators – who say they have a potential buyer to take over the company’s assets.
Around 500 jobs are at risk at Greensill, while 50,000 could be at risk due to the knock on impact of the company’s collapse.
This includes Liberty Steel – which had Greensill as one of its key backers.
The steel firm employs 3,000 staff across 12 UK sites, which include Rotherham, Motherwell and Newport.
The company requested £170million in financial support from the UK Government this month, but the request was rejected.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today said that ministers could step in to protect plants and jobs – but said the money would not be used to help out owners the Gupta Family Group.
Reports Cameron and Mr Greensill took a trip to Saudi Arabia last year today emerged in the Financial Times.
During the Saudi trip Mr Greensill and the Saudi Crown Prince are said to have ‘bonded under the night sky’ over their law degrees.
The Crown Prince, sometimes refered to as MBS, is the de facto ruler of the middle eastern nation.
He has a reported personal wealth of more than £3billion and a family worth estimated to be around £1.5trillion.
The camping trip allegedly took place around January or February last year – before Covid restrictions were put in place in the UK.
It also took place in the months after a forensic UN report found ‘credible links’ between the Crown Prince and murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Flight records for four private planes belonging to the banker’s finance business also show a series of trips to Saudi Arabia were made early last year, according to the Financial Times.
The paper says Cameron, on occasion, used the corporate jets to travel around the world on business.
It also claims to have seen a photograph of the former PM on one of the four jet – which it says were decked out in plush furniture.
The paper reports that several trips were made from Newquay airport – a short drive from Cameron’s holiday home in Cornwall.
The Saudi Arabia claims come amid a lobbying scandal engulfing Mr Cameron about his relationship with Mr Greensill – whose Greensill Capital business filed for insolvency earlier this month.
It is claimed the businessman, through his relationship with Mr Cameron, was given extraordinary access to No10 and struck a controversial NHS deal reportedly rejected by civil servants which profited banks.
Mr Greensill was allegedly granted a security pass and a team of civil servants during the former Conservative leader’s time in Downing Street so he could promote a financial product he specialised in across Whitehall.
The banker hired the former prime minister as an adviser at his financial services company Greensill Capital in 2018, with share options worth tens of millions of pounds.
Mr Cameron told friends he was in line to make $60million from the listing of Greensill, it was previously claimed.
The finance company, which went bust earlier this month, was previously valued at $7billion and a friend of Mr Cameron told The Times he had been ‘candid’ about the potential windfall resulting from his shareholdings in the firm.
However the company was never floated on the stock market.
The company’s collapse means that Mr Cameron’s share options have been left worthless.
It also threatens 500 jobs at Greensill, and up to 50,000 jobs as a knock on of companies which were backed by the finance firm.
Administrators say they are in discussions with an ‘interest party’ to buy the company’s assets.
It was previously reported that the former prime minister directly lobbied Chancellor Rishi Sunak through texts to help Mr Greensill’s stricken finance firm Greensill Capital through the Treasury’s coronavirus loan scheme.
An investigation by the Sunday Times has now alleged that Mr Greensill, a married father-of-two who lives in Cheshire, ‘seduced’ the British establishment and embedded himself into the heart of government.
The businessman, the son of Australian sugar cane farmers, left school during a harvest so bad it dried up his parents’ cash flow.
He studied law by correspondence, receiving cassette tapes in the post because he could not afford university.
Australian financier Lex Greensill was allegedly granted a security pass and team of civil servants during Mr Cameron’s time in Downing Street so he could promote a financial product he specialised in across Whitehall. Pictured receiving his CBE at Buckingham Palace in 2017
The Greensill saga: How Australian banker ‘gained access to No10 and Whitehall’
May 2010 – David Cameron becomes prime minister. Jeremy Heywood is appointed No10’s top civil servant.
July 2011 – Heywood starts pushing for Lex Greensill to become an adviser on ‘supply chain finance’ – a method of speeding up payments between a company and its suppliers using the finance of a third party (ie. bank).
The Government has claimed his position as adviser was unpaid.
November 2011 – Greensill creates his own finance firm, Greensill Capital.
January 2012 – Greensill tours Whitehall, pitching his proposals to 11 departments or agencies including the Department of Health.
He is given a team of officials, security pass and a desk in the Cabinet Office.
Summer 2012 – Greensill’s proposal to pay NHS-affiliated pharmacies using private finance make their way to David Cameron, who signs it off.
An official alleges the report was edited and that the first draft did not support Greensill’s idea. Greenshill has reportedly denied that he had any part to play in this if found to be true.
October 2012 – Cameron announces the scheme, first run by Greensill’s ex-employer, Citibank. Six years later it is taken on by Greensill Capital.
December 2013 – Greensill is appointed as a Crown Representative, an official adviser from the private sector to the government.
August 2016 – Greensill is bailed out by trader Sanjeev Gupta, who temporarily takes a stake in the finance firm.
June 2017 – Greensill is awarded a CBE for ‘services to the economy’.
November 2018 – Cameron joins Greensill as an adviser, acquiring share options worth tens of millions.
May 2019 – Japan’s Softbank pumps £580million into Greensill.
March 2021 – Greensill collapses, exposing years of complex finance deals and threatening 50,000 jobs.
David Cameron (left) and Jeremy Heywood (right) allegedly gave Mr Greensill unprecedented access to No10 and 11 Whitehall departments and agencies
Ministers could bail out Liberty Steel jobs and plant, says business secretary
Ministers could bail out Liberty Steel jobs and plants, according to the business secretary.
Kwasi Kwarteng described Liberty Steel, which employs more than 3,000 people across 12 UK plants, as a ‘really important national asset’.
But he said while ministers could bail out the steel business, the money would not be used to support the Gupta Family Group – whose empire run Liberty Steel.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme today, Mr Kwarteng said: ‘We are custodians of taxpayers’ money, and there were concerns over the very opaque structure of the GFG Group and we feel that if we gave the money, there is no guarantee that that money would stay in the UK and protect British jobs. It’s a multinational enterprise.’
He added that ‘all options are on the table’, when asked about the possibility of the government taking Liberty Steel into public ownership.
He added: ‘Only two weeks ago my department published an industrial decarbonisation strategy. We want to see clean steel … of the kind Liberty Steel makes.’
The financier arrived in Britain aged 24, and joined American banking giant Morgan Stanley in 2005 as the bank was expanding into supply chain finance – a tool to help businesses left vulnerable by late payments.
David Cameron ‘told friends he would make $60million from Greensill stock market flotation’ amid lobbying furore over collapsed lender
David Cameron told friends he was in line to make $60million from the listing of Greensill, it was claimed today, amid a growing row over the former PM’s involvement with the financial firm.
The finance company, which went bust earlier this month, was previously valued at $7billion and a friend of Mr Cameron told The Times he had been ‘candid’ about the potential windfall resulting from his shareholdings in the firm.
But the company’s collapse means that Mr Cameron’s share options have been left worthless.
The Times said sources close to Mr Cameron yesterday denied the claim that he had told friends about the potential value of his share options.
It comes amid calls for an inquiry into Mr Cameron’s involvement with the firm after allegations surfaced that Lex Greensill was given privileged access to Whitehall departments.
It also emerged today that the firm is being investigated by French authorities over an 18million euro (£15million) loan to a smelting plant.
Bloomberg reported that they will examine claims the payment was made to Liberty Aluminium Poitou in December last year before being recalled after a two-month waiting period, and not paid out again.
He founded Greensill Capital, the firm that went on to employ Mr Cameron but later collapsed, causing uncertainty for thousands of jobs at Liberty Steel, having been its main financial backer.
Labour and Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, have called for a full inquiry into the ‘scandal’.
The allegations surfaced after the former Conservative leader faced scrutiny for reportedly trying to persuade government figures to grant emergency loans to Greensill Capital, where he was an adviser.
The Sunday Times report alleged the Australian financier was given access to the departments while Mr Cameron was in Number 10 so he could promote a financial product he specialised in.
The Pharmacy Early Payment Scheme, announced in 2012, saw banks swiftly reimburse pharmacists for providing NHS prescriptions, for a fee, before recovering the money from the government. Greensill Capital went on to provide funds for the scheme.
Mr Greensill could not be reached for comment, but the newspaper said he was understood to deny making large returns from a pharmacy deal.
Sir Alistair said: ‘There clearly should be a full inquiry because it sounds like a genuine scandal in which the public purse was put at risk without proper political authority.’
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden defended his long-term ally, saying Mr Cameron is a ‘man of utmost integrity and I’ve no doubt at all he would have behaved properly’.
A Government spokesman said: ‘Lex Greensill acted as a supply chain finance adviser from 2012 to 2015 and as a crown representative for three years from 2013. His appointment was approved in the normal manner and he was not paid for either role.’
Under the scheme, a bank wedges itself between and company or small business and its suppliers and pays immediately for a fee. It was this model that he would later pitch to officials across Whitehall.
While at Morgan Stanley, Mr Greensill met Jeremy Heywood, Mr Cameron’s later chief of the civil service who was on a break from Whitehall at the time. The Cabinet Secretary died of cancer aged 56 in 2018.
The paper reported that Mr Cameron and Mr Heywood gave Mr Greensill unprecedented access to No10 and 11 Whitehall departments and agencies.
Citing leaked documents and minutes, it said Mr Cameron, who resigned as prime minister in 2016 after his Remain campaign lost the EU referendum, signed off on a multi-billion-pound loans scheme in 2012 for NHS-linked pharmacies.
Under Mr Greensill’s plan to get small businesses paid on time, a bank would quickly reimbursing pharmacies for the cost of providing prescription drugs instead of making them wait weeks for the NHS to repay them.
Praised at a Downing Street reception by Mr Cameron as an ‘innovative scheme’, its beneficiaries were Mr Greensill’s former bosses at Wall Street giant Citibank and, eventually, his own financial services company.
Civil servants and officials told the Sunday Times that Mr Greensill’s ascent rested on Mr Heywood, Mr Cameron’s then Cabinet Secretary who had ‘discovered’ the Australian tycoon while working in the private sector.
Mr Heywood is said to have brought the banker on board in 2011 and tasked him with spending six months exploring whether supply chain financing could help the Government to pay suppliers more quickly.
Mr Greensill was reportedly given a security pass and four civil servants who were told to explore his ideas, write a report and submit it to ministers. He was later given a desk in the economic and domestic affairs secretariat of the Cabinet Office.
In January 2012, the banker apparently began a whistle-stop tour of Whitehall, pitching his proposals to 11 departments or agencies including the Department of Health, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Transport.
His undisclosed meetings also included pitches to finance Britain’s fleet of Typhoon fighter jets and Voyager refuelling planes and to fund the upgrade of the country’s biggest motorways, including the M62, M4 and M5.
Over the summer, Mr Greensill’s proposal to pay NHS-affiliated pharmacies using private finance made their way to Mr Cameron, who signed it off.
However, a leading official alleged that the report was handed directly to Mr Cameron, bypassing Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office Paymaster General, entirely – and had been edited.
They told the paper that the main author’s name had been removed and replaced with Mr Greensill’s, and that the initial draft did not support the banker’s proposal.
Officials are understood to have instead warned that supply chain finance was not the most effective way of helping thousands of small businesses which supply prescription drugs secure reimbursement by the NHS.
The report is said to have suggested that there were were ‘better and simpler routes’ to pay suppliers, some of which were already in place in Whitehall.
It is understood that Mr Heywood was copied in via email. Mr Greensill is understood to deny any involvement in changing the report.
No10 awarded the contract to Citibank, Mr Greensill’s former employer which he had left before entering Whitehall, which ran the scheme for six years.
In 2018, Greensill Capital won the contract, and provided £1.2billion in loans to pharmacies, taking a fee for every loan, from July 2018 until last month.
Mr Greensill was made a crown representative, one of a selected cadre of businesspeople advising the Government. In 2017, he was made a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The Australian financier then hired Mr Cameron as an adviser in 2018, giving him share options which could be worth tens of millions of pounds.
The revelation comes as Mr Cameron faces pressure over his efforts last year to lobby Mr Sunak and Government officials to help Mr Greensill’s stricken finance firm Greensill Capital through the Treasury’s coronavirus loan scheme.
Mr Cameron was last week cleared of breaking lobbying rules by Harry Rich, the registrar of consultant lobbyists, who ruled that Mr Cameron’s role with Greensill’s firm was not that of a lobbyist and therefore no rules had been broken.
However, questions over his activities with Greensill Capital persist.
Mr Greensill’s business model was to provide quick loans to companies that did not want to wait until they received payment from their customers.
Two years ago, the company said it had provided financing worth more than £100billion to ten million customers in 175 countries.
But Greensill Capital sunk into administration this month when it emerged that many of its loans were unlikely to ever be repaid.
One casualty of its spectacular collapse has been one of its clients, Liberty Steel, which employs 3,000 across Britain.
This weekend it was seeking an emergency £170million Government bailout to stay afloat.
The banker hired Mr Cameron as an adviser at Greensill Capital in 2018, with share options worth tens of millions of pounds and whose collapse now threatens 50,000 jobs
Sir Alastair Graham, the former chairman of the committee for standards in public life, called for a full inquiry because ‘it sounds like a genuine scandal in which the public purse was put at risk without proper political authority’.
Mr Greensill and Mr Cameron declined to comment to the Sunday Times.
Suzanne Heywood, Mr Heywood’s wife, told the paper that the civil service chief ‘took no personal benefit of any sort from Lex’s company’.
The Government said Mr Greensill ‘acted as a supply chain finance adviser from 2012 to 2015 and as a crown representative for three years from 2013. His appointment was approved in the normal manner and he was not paid for either role’.
How David Cameron is set to continue with $1bn ‘UK-China Fund’ despite UK Government’s criticism of China’s human rights record
David Cameron has kept himself busy since leaving Downing Street in 2016 – when he dramatically quit from his role as PM in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
Alongside his work with Greensill, he reportedly charges up to £120,000 an hour for speaking arrangements.
He is also involved in a $1bn investment fund aiming to increase partnership opportunities between the UK and China.
Aptly named ‘the UK-China Fund’, the private sector programme intends to create innovative projects in fields such as technology, healthcare and energy.
David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at a pub in northwest London in 2015 during a state visit
It was reported in 2017 that he had begun courting City fund managers seeking investment for the project.
Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for Cameron said he was proud of his work creating a ‘Golden Era’ between the UK and China and strengthening the UK-China trade and investment relationship.
But the mood between the two countries has changed significantly since.
Tensions have risen between Westminster and Beijing, with the UK increasingly concerned about China’s crackdown on liberties in previously British-run Hong Kong.
Ministers have also criticised China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.
The Government earlier this year imposed stricter sanctions on the country citing human rights abuses, while China returned fire criticising UK ministers of spreading ‘disinformation’.
But it was reported in June last year by the Financial Times, that despite rising tensions between the UK and China, Cameron will continue to push on with the UK-China Fund.
A source close to the former Prime Minister told the paper: ‘It would be wrong to say (it has been) abandoned.’
However the decision to continue pushing the fund drew criticism from Tory MP Bob Seely.
Speaking in June 2020, he told the paper: ‘I wish him well but I think he should be under no illusions that China is changing and not for the better.
‘We need to continue a two-way dialogue and economic relationship, but you do wonder how the changing outlook is going to affect that.’
According to the Financial Times, the fund is an initiative of Peter Gummer, a prominent Tory donor who was president of the Conservative association in Witney, Oxfordshire – where Cameron was an MP.