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Latest figures published for political party donations and borrowing

Published: 02 Mar 2017

Eleven political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting over £7.7m in donations between 1 October and 31 December 2016, according to new figures published by the Electoral Commission, the independent political finance regulator.

This quarter saw over £1.2 million more in reported donations than in the third quarter of 2016, although it is around £1.5 million less compared to the same quarter in 2015.

The seven political parties to report the most in donations were:

  • Conservative and Unionist Party - £3,610,983
  • Liberal Democrats - £1,972,904
  • Labour Party - £1,970,055
  • Green Party - £46,228
  • Co-operative Party – 39,750
  • UK Independence Party (UKIP) - £33,228
  • Women’s Equality Party - £30,000

In addition to these donations, during this final quarter of 2016, five parties accepted a total of more than £2.4 million from public funds – money and assistance to parliamentary opposition parties to assist with costs.

The value of outstanding loans to political parties as at 31 December 2016 stood at £5,082,990, which is an increase of £724,482 compared to at 30 September 2016.

Twenty two parties failed to meet the deadline for reporting for this quarter. Unless the parties are able to provide a reasonable explanation for why the deadline was missed, the Commission will consider each of these matters in line with its enforcement policy, which is available to view here.

Bob Posner, Director of Political Finance and Regulation & Legal Counsel said:

“The reporting and publication of this data ensures that our political finance system is as transparent as possible and it is therefore always disappointing when there is a failure to meet the statutory deadline. Where there is no reasonable explanation for such a failure we will take a robust approach in dealing with this.”

A summary of donations reported in the fourth quarter of 2016, including the highest donors, is available here.

Full details of donations and loans are available on our registers here.

Full analysis and breakdown of the figures for quarter four 2016 is available on our website here.

Ends:

For further information please the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0536 or email press@electoralcommission.org.uk. For out of hours queries, please call 07789 920 414.

Notes to editors

1. The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:

  • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focussing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
  • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
  • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

2. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires registered parties to report cash and non-cash donations and borrowing on a quarterly basis to the Electoral Commission. Political parties must report all donations and borrowing over £7,500 to the central party, or over £1,500 to an accounting unit, to the Electoral Commission. This includes aggregates of donations and loans from the same source during the calendar year.

3. As the parties only report donations and loans over these thresholds, the figures do not include all donations and loans to political parties. Donations and loans under these thresholds are recorded in political parties’ annual Statement of Accounts. To view these accounts, visit our register here.

4. Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Scottish Parliament and the Electoral Commission. ‘Short’ and ‘Cranborne’ grants are available to parties in opposition in the House of Commons or House of Lords respectively.

5. Some donations appear on the register as being from the Electoral Commission. These are Policy Development Grants, which were established by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 for parties represented in the Commons by two or more sitting members. The grants are intended to assist parties in developing the policies that they will present in an election manifesto. The legislation provides the total sum of £2 million annually for this purpose. Policy Development Grants became reportable as donations for the first time in quarter three of 2006 as a result of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

6. There were 398 registered political parties in Great Britain during this quarter. 57 were required to submit their quarterly donation returns and 51 to submit borrowing information within the deadline. The remaining political parties were exempt (unless they received donations) because they have previously submitted four consecutive nil returns.

7. The figures reported for quarterly donations and borrowing have been rounded. The exact figures are available on our website here.

Journalist