Unhealthy friendships

Issue section: 

Con-Dem plans to use companies such as McDonald's and Diageo, the makers of Guinness, to draft health policy have been slated by health campaigners - and indeed everyone who has a sense of irony.

But as the calorie pushers fattened up Britain, they also fattened the wallet of Tory health minister Andrew Lansley. Lansley earned £134 an hour as paid director at advertising agency Profero, a role he left one year ago. This must have given the minister some good contacts - two of Profero's clients, Mars and PepsiCo (owner of Walkers crisps), are now responsible for the government's healthy eating policies.

Lansley also received a £21,000 political donation in November 2009 from John Nash, chair of private healthcare giant Care UK - a company itching to take an unhealthy bite out of the NHS.

The Tory minister was right about one thing. Back in November 2008 he blogged: "Interestingly on many counts, recession can be good for us." That certainly seems to be coming true for the Tory frontbench and their corporate friends.

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