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New figures published showing political parties' donations and borrowings

News release published: 05-06-2008

Political parties accepted £16.6 million in donations between October and December of 2007, according to new figures from the Electoral Commission.

In addition, five parties received over £2.5 million in public funds during this period.

The Commission's registers of donations and borrowing for the fourth quarter of 2007 show that:

Donations

  • 16 political parties accepted donations totalling £16,663,472 (excluding public funds) between 1 October and 31 December.
  • Seven parties reported donations this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters. The total amount of donations reported late was £353,131.
  • Five parties received a total of £2,527,730 in public funds.
  • Three parties the Green Party, the Christian Peoples Alliance and the Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship" all submitted donations returns late and a fine will be issued by the Electoral Commission.

Loans

  • Six parties entered into new borrowing totalling £2,447,921.
  • Three parties reported new borrowings this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters. The total amount of new borrowing reported late was £137,736.
  • A total of £4,926,545 was repaid during this quarter.
  • Four parties reported repaid borrowings that should have been reported in previous quarters. The total amount of repaid borrowings that were reported late was just over £1 million.

This takes the total amount of donations received by parties in 2007 to £ 56.5 million, a figure which includes just under £8.6 million of public funds. The equivalent figure for 2006 was £44.8 million, of which just under £8 million was from public funds.

Total borrowing now stands at just over £35.8 million. 

The latest figures can be viewed on the Commissions website: www.electoralcommission.org.uk

DONATIONS

Donations to political parties accepted in quarter four 2007 (October to December)

Party

Donations excluding public funds (£)

Public funds (£)

Donations total (£)

Blah Party

1,000

0

1,000

British National Party

15,000

0

15,000

Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship"

62,000

0

62,000

Christian Peoples Alliance

2,816

0

2,816

Conservative and Unionist Party

9,765,432

1,522,068

11,287,500

Co-operative Party

43,394

0

43,394

Green Party

82,250

0

82,250

Labour Party

5,469,916

451,646

5,921,562

Liberal Democrats

946,611

480,857

1,427,468

Mum's Army

7,496

0

7,496

mums4justice

8,973

0

8,973

New Party

25,000

0

25,000

Plaid Cymru The Party of Wales

0

39,383

39,383

Scottish Green Party

12,436

0

12,436

Scottish National Party

144,082

33,776

177,858

UK Independence Party

68,095

0

68,095

women4theworld

8,973

0

8,973

Total

16,663,472

2,527,730

19,191,202

 

Following identification of an impermissible donation of £950 from Paul Green, which had been accepted by the Glasgow South Labour party, the party has agreed to forfeit £950 without the need for legal proceedings by the Commission. The donation from Mr Green was accepted by the party on 1 June 2007 and Mr Green was not on the electoral register at the time the donation was made. 

Public funds

The Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru received a total of £1,657,420 in Short money, which is paid directly by the UK Parliament to opposition parties in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party and Labour Party received £129,850 in assistance paid directly to opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament. The Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats also received a total of £177,555 in Cranborne money which is for opposition parties in the House of Lords. The Labour Party, Conservative Party and Plaid Cymru received £562,905 in Policy Development Grants which are allocated by the UK Parliament according to a formula and paid by the Electoral Commission.

BORROWING

Six parties reported new borrowing this quarter totalling £2,447,921 and total borrowing of £4,926,545 was repaid. Fourteen parties have total borrowing of £35.8 million, a minimal change from quarter two.

Reported borrowing (including loans, overdrafts, credit cards and connected transactions) by party as at 31 December 2007

Party

 

Total (£)

Better Bedford Independent Party

34,300

Conservative and Unionist Party

12,862,827

English Democrats

101,447

Labour Party

19,826,256

Liberal Democrats

1,151,803

People's Party for a Better Government

7,800

Plaid Cymru The Party of Wales

311,413

Progressive Party

210,000

Respect The Unity Coalition

34,878

Scottish National Party

1,048,343

Scottish Socialist Party

73,000

Scottish Voice

150,000

Solidarity Scotland's Socialist Movement

13,500

UK Independence Party

19,200


35,844,767

 

New borrowing in quarter four 2007 (October to December)

Party

Total amount of new borrowing (£)

Conservative and Unionist Party

26,017

Labour Party

2,011,364

Liberal Democrats

103,041

Plaid Cymru The Party of Wales

80,000

Scottish National Party

225,000

Solidarity Scotlands Socialist Movement

2,500

Total new borrowing

2,447,921

Note: Further details including the date the loan was entered into, date repayable, interest rate (whether fixed, variable or nil), whether security was given and details of the lender are available on the Electoral Commission website www.electoralcommission.org.uk

 

Borrowing repaid in quarter four 2007

Party

 

Total value

Conservative and Unionist Party

3,553,310

Labour Party

1,359,000

Liberal Democrats

14,235

Total borrowing repaid

4,926,545

 

LATE REPORTING

Donations reported this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters totalled £353,131 and borrowings reported in this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters totalled £137,736. In addition, repaid borrowing reported in this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters totalled just over £1 million.

Donations accepted in previous quarters and reported late this quarter

Party

Donations total (£)

Number of donations

Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship"

93,000

7

Conservative and Unionist Party

43,475

13

Co-operative Party

22,304

2

Labour Party

56,896

34

Liberal Democrats

118,732

14

Scottish National Party

15,742

5

UK Independence Party

2,983

2

Total donations reported late

353,131

77

 

Borrowing taken in previous quarters and reported late this quarter

Party

Borrowing total (£)

Conservative and Unionist Party

82,278

Liberal Democrats

2,508

Scottish National Party

52,950

Total borrowing reported late

137,736

 

Borrowing repaid in previous quarters and reported late this quarter

Party

Repaid borrowing total (£)

Conservative and Unionist Party

4,208

Labour

1,004,500

Liberal Democrats

3,945

Plaid Cymru The Party of Wales

2,000

Total repaid borrowing reported late

1,014,653

Note: The Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act 200 (PPERA) requires parties to report to the Commission any changes to the reported details of a loan, including its repayment. 

Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission, said: "The requirement for parties to report donations and loans to the Commission is fundamental in ensuring transparency in our democracy. It puts information about the way parties are funded in the hands of the voting public.

"However, it is unacceptable that major political parties continue to report donations and loans late, which means that we do not have a complete picture of party funding in each quarter. We have taken action and imposed civil penalties on parties that submitted late returns. But current legislation does not give the Commission the power to impose reasonable and proportionate penalties on parties where their returns include details of donations or loans received in an earlier quarter.

"We continue to call on Government and the UK Parliament for a more flexible and effective range of penalties and we are pressing for legislation to strengthen the regulatory framework so we have the tools to deal with late reporting. Meanwhile, we are writing to the registered treasurers of all political parties that have reported donations or borrowing late, asking for an assurance that they are taking positive steps to deal with this problem."

 

For further information contact:

The Electoral Commission press office on 0207 271 0704

Out of office hours 07789 920414 

Email press@electoralcommission.org.uk

 

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 UKs democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections.
  2. The figures reported for donations and borrowing have been rounded to the nearest £. Exact figures are available on our website.
  3. This is only the second time the Commission has separated out public funds from the total donations reported so please take care when comparing overall figures to previous quarters.
  4. To search the register for donations, visit the Commissions website www.electoralcommission.org.uk and go to 'Register of donations to political parties' using the 'donations' link on the home page. A table detailing loans repaid and outstanding can also be found here: http://www.electoralcommission.co.uk/regulatory-issues/loanstopolparties.cfm
  5. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires parties to report cash and non-cash donations and loans on a quarterly basis to the Electoral Commission. Parties must report any donation above £5,000 made to the central party, or donations exceeding £1,000 made to a local accounting unit
  6. Quarter three figures on donations and borrowing were published by the Electoral Commission on 20 November 2007. The press release can be accessed at: http://www.electoralcommission.co.uk/media-centre/newsreleasedonations.cfm/news/685
  7. Table of donations reported in quarter four which should have been reported previously can be found here.
  8. Table of borrowings reported in quarter four which should have been reported previously can be found here.
  9. Parties may accept donations of over £200 only if they are deemed 'permissible' under the terms of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) 2000 at the time the donation was made. 'Permissible' donors include individuals who are listed on the UK electoral register, or companies which are registered under the Companies Act 1985 and incorporated within the UK or another EU member state, and carrying on business in the UK.
  10. The penalties for failure to submit statutory returns on time can be found at section 147 of PPERA
  11. From 1 November 2007 parties on the Northern Ireland register of political parties were required to conform to donation controls. Quarter four returns are the first to be reported to the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland. As required by the legislation, permissible donations reported to us will not be published. These are transitional arrangements that will apply to donations reported until October 2010.
  12. Some donations appear on the register as being from the House of Lords or House of Commons. These are Short and Cranborne grants which are available to parties in opposition in the House of Commons and House of Lords respectively.
  13. Some donations appear on the register as being from the Electoral Commission. These are Policy Development Grants which were established by PPERA 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.
  14. Included in the figure for donations reported late is donation to the Scottish National Party of £5,668.79 from November 2004 which was reported to the Commission and added to the register of donations to political parties in December 2007.
  15. The Electoral Commission has also today (20 February 2008) updated its register of donations made to regulated donees. The figures are for 46 separate donations made to 26 individuals and to three members' associations, all which were reported to the Commission late. Details are available on the Commission website: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regdonregulateddonee.cfm

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