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Figures reveal spending by parties at UK general election

News release published: 02-09-2010

The Electoral Commission – the independent party funding watchdog – has published details of spending by political parties and organisations that spent up to £250,000 campaigning in the 2010 UK general election.  In total, political parties have reported spending almost £586,000, and other campaigners have reported spending almost £870,000.

Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission, said:

“Voters are entitled to know how elections campaigners spend their money. We’ve published the first set of information on this today, and will publish details of those spending over £250k in December.”

For parties that contested only the UK general election, a “regulated period” for the general election ran from 7 May 2009 to polling day on 6 May 2010. For parties that also contested the 2009 European Parliamentary elections, a combined “regulated period” ran from 5 February 2009 to 6 May 2010.  Parties and campaigning organisations are not allowed to spend more than a specified amount during this regulated period (see Notes to Editors 7).

Political Parties

All parties that contested the election are required to submit campaign expenditure returns to the Commission.

Parties that spent less than £250,000 had to submit their returns by 5 August. 32 parties submitted returns of spending below £250,000 during the regulated period by this deadline.  Altogether these parties spent £585,043 campaigning at the UK general election during the regulated period.

Parties that spent more than £250,000 during the regulated period have until 5 November 2010 to submit an audited return to the Commission. The Commission will publish this information on its website in December 2010

 
Spending on the 2010 UK general election by parties on the Great Britain register of political parties.

Expenditure 2005 *(£)

Political party

Expenditure 2010 (£) 

A Vote Against MP Expense Abuse 755 Did not contest
Alliance for Green Socialism 952 69
Anticapitalists - Workers Power 833 0
Communist Party of Britain 220 0
Co-operative Party [The]  6,743  6,552
Democratic Labour Party 528 0
English Democrats Party 35,792 3,501
Equal Parenting Alliance  100 Did not contest
Impact Party 3,613 Did not contest
Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern 159 1,756
Lewisham For People Not Profit 3,711 Did not contest
Lincolnshire Independents Lincolnshire First  421 Did not contest
Mebyon Kernow – The Party for Cornwall 50 540
New Independent Conservative Chelsea and Fulham 3,172 Did not contest
Northampton – Save Our Public Services  1,677 Did not contest
Official Monster Raving Loony Party [The] 368 4,923
Peace Party - Non-violence, Justice, Environment [The]  901 1,477
Plaid Cymru - Party of Wales [The] 144,933  38,879
Scottish Green Party 21,822  22,331
Scottish Socialist Party 3,231  21,415
Socialist Equality Party  1,201 Did not contest
Solidarity -  Scotland's Socialist Movement  2,370  Did not contest
The Animal Protection Party 2,210  Did not contest
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition  5,314 Did not contest
True English (Poetry) Party [The]  15 Did not contest
Total  241,091
 
* The figures for 2005 are provided for comparison with spending in 2010 purposes. They are not a comprehensive list of all election spending in 2005.

Note: this list does not include all parties that contested the 2010 UK general election. It lists only those that reported expenditure up to £250,000. A complete list of parties contesting the 2010 UK general election is available here:  www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/uk-parliamentary-general-election-campaign-expenditure

Spending on the 2010 UK general election by parties on the Northern Ireland register of political parties 

Expenditure 2005 *(£)
Political party Expenditure 2010 (£) 
Alliance – Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 23,944 21,124
Conservative And Unionist Party  109,941 8,434
Democratic Unionist Party – D.U.P. 59,086 107,133
Green Party 6,304 Did not contest
People Before Profit Alliance 198 Did not contest
SDLP (Social Democratic & Labour Party) 52,339  154,088
Sinn Féin 64,078 44,212
Traditional Unionist Voice – TUV 11,368  Did not contest
Ulster Unionist Party  16,692 251,119
Total 343,952

* The figures for 2005 are provided for comparison with spending in 2010 purposes. They are not a comprehensive list of all election spending in 2005.


In their returns to the Commission, parties must allocate all spending against one of eight specified categories. The table below shows total spending by category for the 32 parties that have submitted spending reports.

Expenditure (£) in
United Kingdom
Category Expenditure (£) in
Great Britain 
Expenditure (£) in
Northern Ireland
Party political broadcasts 48,568 78,592 127,160
Advertising  53,176 134,935 188,111
Unsolicited materials (e.g. leaflets) 58,092 71,049 129,141
Manifesto and policy documents 10,762 14,629 25,391
Market research and canvassing 45,160 0 45,160
Press conferences/media 3,448 27,087 30,535
Transport  5,271 2,985  8,256
Rallies and other events 5,352  8,827 14,179
Overheads and general administration 9,588 5,847 15,435
Total  239,415 343,951 583,366

Other campaigners

In addition to spending by political parties, 17 ‘third parties’ (individuals or organisations that campaign for or against particular parties, candidates or policies) reported spending less than £250,00 during the campaign. Altogether these third parties spent £869,150 campaigning at the UK general election during the regulated period.

Third parties that spent more than £250,000 at the UK general election have until 5 November 2010 to submit an audited return to the Commission. The Commission will publish this information on its website in December 2010. 
  

 Expenditure 2005* (£) 

Third party

Expenditure 2010 (£)

38 Degrees 9,007  N/A
A Minority Pastime Limited 10,969 N/A
IFAW in Action 206,634 N/A
Independent Network Campaign Ltd 51,020 N/A
National Union of Teachers 147,130 N/A
Political Animal Lobby Limited 172,543  N/A
Public and Commercial Services Union 84,794 N/A
The Campaign to End all Animal Experiments 5,996 N/A
The League Against Cruel Sports 62,893 20,943
Uncaged Campaigns Ltd  7,685 12,051
Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians 14,969 N/A
Unite 16,928 N/A
Unite Against Fascism  34,859 20,342
USDAW  4,941 71,784
Vote Cruelty Free 15,339  N/A
Vote-OK 19,145 36,207
Wales TUC 4,298 N/A
Total 869,150 N/A

* The figures for 2005 are provided for comparison with spending in 2010 purposes. They are not a comprehensive list of all election spending in 2005.

As part of their spending return third parties are also required to report donations of over £7,500 from the same source during the regulated period.  This information has been updated on the registers on our website.

Other points

The Commission is currently scrutinising the spending returns submitted by parties and third parties. 25 political parties either submitted their returns late, or have failed to submit a return, and the Commission has issued them with penalty notices.

For individuals who stood as candidates at Parliamentary elections, there are separate reporting requirements. By law, candidates must report spending they incur to the Returning Officer for the constituency they contested. Candidates are not required to report spending to the Electoral Commission.

Further details, including a breakdown of spending by category, spending in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as copies of individual invoices and receipts, are available on the Electoral Commission website: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/uk-parliamentary-general-election-campaign-expenditure

ends/

For more information please contact:
Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704
Out of office hours 07789 920414 

Notes to editors

    1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections and are responsible for the conduct and regulations of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000).
    2. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000) introduced controls on campaign expenditure by political parties and third parties contesting European Parliamentary and UK General Elections. Parties with expenditure up to and including £250,000 must deliver a report to the Commission within three months of the election. Parties with expenditure over £250,000 must deliver an audited report to the Commission within six months of the election.
    3. The Act limits the amount that political and third parties may spend during the 365 days prior to the UK Parliamentary general election. Where parties also contested the European Parliamentary election in 2009, the Act sets limits for a combined period: from 5 February 2009 until polling day (6 May 2010).
    4. Expenditure by political parties must be recorded against one of the following categories: 

      Party political broadcasts

      - Advertising
      - Unsolicited materials
      - Manifesto and policy documents
      - Market research and canvassing
      - Press conferences/media
      - Transport
      - Rallies and other events
      - Overheads and general administration

    5. Figures in this press release are rounded to the nearest £. Rounding errors may occur.
    6. For a party that contested a general election there was an expenditure limit of £30,000 per seat and a minimum limit of £810,000 for England, £120,000 in Scotland and £60,000 in Wales. Parties should use whichever is the maximum as the overall allowed limit. A party that contests all 646 seats in a general election would have an expenditure limit of £19.38m.
    7. Third parties had a spending limit of £1,184,259 across the UK for the 365 day regulated period. This figure is made up of four spending limits:

      - England  £953,250
      - Scotland  £126,000
      - Wales  £71,259
      - Northern Ireland £33,750

      The register of donations to third parties is below:
      http://registers.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regdthirdpartoie.cfm

Journalist